Thursday, June 22, 2006

YouTube, Social Software and the Net Gen

I’ve tried MySpace and I have to admit that I just don’t find it that interesting. However, I recently discovered YouTube and it’s really fascinating.

Did you see the article in the LA Times on Monday—the one about the young receptionist who was recently offered a HUGE deal by MTV's DJ Carson Daly? “Brooke "Brookers" Brodack is a twenty year old female whose music video parodies have earned her fame among the YouTube community and a development contract from Carson Daly, the host of a late night show on NBC. She is believed to be the first previously unknown talent to be discovered by Hollywood through YouTube.” (Wikipedia)

YouTube is a major internet phenomenon. “In April 2006, 35,000 new videos were uploaded to YouTube daily. The total viewership has been estimated to be in the millions, with 30 million clips watched daily.”(Wikipedia). The LA Times says that YouTube is ranked #18 is daily worldwide web traffic.

Wikipedia, another internet phenonomen describes You Tube as: “a website that allows users to upload, view, and share video clips. It was founded in February 2005 by three early employees of PayPal. YouTube uses Flash to serve its content, which includes movie and TV show clips, music videos, and homemade videos. Video feeds of YouTube videos can also be easily embedded on blogs and other websites. YouTube prohibits the posting of copyrighted video, but such material is in abundance.“ Although Wikipedia has been recently hotly debated by librarians related to its reliability as an academic source, it is actually the best place to go for very current techno information. Wikipedia is also “social software” and allows anyone to upload content. It is rated a top “research” site by the Net Gen.

One of the most popular videos viewed on YouTube is by Gary Brolsma, now considered an internet phenomenon it itself. Brolsma spoofed the Rumanian band Ozone’s song, “Dragostea din Tei” (aka Numa Numa). It simply shows him happily dancing in his seat in front of his computer. He became so “famous” that he made appearances on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's The Tonight Show and VH1's Best Week Ever. His video went up on the Internet in early 2005 and since then, there have been over 2,000 video spoofs on this one song uploaded to YouTube, many of them spoofing Gary. Brooke also spoofed him with her recent video which has been viewed 1.4 million times since October. In it, she make the request to stop spoofing the Numa song. You can read all about it on Wikipedia: and find links to all these videos.

A related issue: You may be aware of the phenomenon of music mashups, aka “bastard pop,” a musical genre which combines the music and vocals from completely different genres. At YouTube you can find many examples of video mashups.. Take a look at the “10 Commandments Trailer” re-cut to rap music as a high-school feel-good romantic comedy. (It’s been viewed well over a million times.)

In our role as educators, how are we ever to effectively address issues of copyright and ethics with all these issues in the mix?

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