We’re all guilty of sitting in front of a computer for hours watching videos on YouTube. These videos can be funny, sad, emotional, uplifting, or just simply entertaining. Before watching the anthropological study of YouTube done by Micheal Wesch from Kansas State University to the Library of Congress I had no idea the cultural impact that YouTube has on our society.
The most interesting part I found from this video was the idea that YouTube has, essentially, reinvented the sense of community across the world. Before socializing on the web was possible, global interaction was very limited. Right now, in the year 2011, I wouldn’t even think twice about going onto YouTube and searching for a video of a person who lives half way around the world. It’s very hard for me to think of a time where this was not possible because this ability has been so deeply ingrained in our lives.
YouTube has allowed society to connect on so many more levels than before web sharing was possible. Perhaps my favorite example of this is the It Gets Better Project, a project that wouldn’t have been possible without YouTube. This project was founded in 2010 by Dan Savage and his husband in response to the multiple teen suicides from gay bullying. The goal of this project is for gay adults to post videos onto YouTube explaining that it gets better to LGBT youth to prevent more suicides from happening. After reaching their 650 limit on video uploads the project had to be moved to its website which now has 22,000 videos of people from all sexual orientations including many celebrities.
I think that it is truly amazing how people are able to come together through simply posting videos telling others that they are not alone. YouTube allows people to collaborate together to stand up for what they believe in and take a stand. YouTube has turned into a cultural value that lets people express themselves in any way they want. One webcam can be a person’s connection to the whole world, it may as well be the eyes of everyone watching…but in a way it’s not. YouTube allows people to share their inner most thoughts without the fear of immediate judgement.
As humans I think that we are fascinated by other humans. We naturally want to connect with others in some way and find ways to relate to them so we know that we aren’t alone. Video blogging lets people’s thoughts be heard and helps people know they are making a difference in the world and that they are loved.
Facebook, Twitter, and blogging are also a major part of this phenomenon. Keeping the world up to date on your thoughts and life is second nature to us now. It is a little less public than video blogging but personally I feel less alone by sharing things on Twitter and Facebook and having people respond.
In a world with billions of people YouTube allows one person with a goal to be heard around the world by a simple click.