Youtube Video: The Machine is Us/ing Us

This video may be a bit old, in “Web 2.0 Time,” but I felt that it was an important piece to share with readers of the gnovis blog, because it relates to a concept that so many people in media studies are talking about, but which is often poorly understood: Web 2.0.In just four and a half minutes (or maybe 13.5 minutes, since it’s worth watching at least thrice), this video covers the history and significance of XML and other Web 2.0 technologies, starting with the limitations of early HTML and touching everything from RSS feeds to Wikipedia. More significantly, it presents the material in a visual form so mesmerizing that you can’t help but enjoy it, even if you can’t follow all the details.Here’s the clip (I recommend cranking the volume, as the music helps set the tone and pace):
What I particularly love about the video is its source: Dr. Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and head of the Digital Ethnography Working Group, also at Kansas State. If ever there was a case for scholars embracing new media, Wesch’s exemplary work is it.On an interesting aside, Wesch also chose to take a commons/private hybrid approach to assembling this video, working on it entirely in the privacy of his home, but then posting a rough draft to YouTube for critique before releasing the final version. The rough draft, as it happens, became the link that caught on, receiving 3.5 million views, more than 10 times as many as the final draft (as of this posting, of course).

Brad Weikel

Brad Weikel received his MA in Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) from Georgetown University in 2009. His thesis, "From Coding to Community: Iteration, Abstraction, and Open Source Software Development" argued that programming practices, particularly iterative workflows and abstraction models, can help explain both the success and struggles of open source software. His work was a technocentric complement to prior explanations from economists, lawyers, and political and cultural theorists. While writing his thesis, Brad blogged about his topic at OpenCulture.cc, where he has since continued blogging, more broudly, about collaborative production and the commons at large. Brad was Managing Editor of gnovis during the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 school years, and Creative Director in 2006/2007. He is currently the Web & Communications Coordinator for EarthRights International.