UFO's Must Be Real - I Saw One On YouTube
This weeks readings about the UCLA Taser case have made me really angry. I’m angry in both the talk show sense about the incident and I’m also angry as I think critically about the influence participatory journalism has via the speed and reach of the Internet and the availability of user-created content - I’ll spare you all from my talk show opinions here.
Having been a photographic interpreter in the U.S. Navy working for Naval Intelligence for six years where we used photogrammetric methods to analyze various kind of imagery (photographic, infrared, video, etc.), I learned that an image is literally worth a thousand words, but if you don’t know the language the words may be gibberish. Photogrammetry is a method of thinking critically about what you were looking at and not simply jumping to conclusions about what something looks like.
User created content from cell-phone cameras may be useful and it may not be useful in documenting an event. In the case of the UCSL Taser incident, in my opinion, the quality of the video was so poor that the video raises more questions than it answers. Technologies like digital imagery from cell-phones on YouTube can be misinterpreted or only show one perspective of an event. Furthermore, the imagery may have been edited prior to being posted on YouTube to show only a particular perspective of an event that the creator of the content wants you to see. There isn’t a chain-of-custody of the video content on YouTube and so very little credibility. You can’t really know what to believe. If we could trust that the content on YouTube was always the raw video that we could draw our own conclusions from, then I see great benefit in the video content on the Internet.
I don’t think that music videos or clips of old TV shows uploaded to YouTube hurt the entertainment industry. The quality of the video clips I’ve seen on YouTube are so poor that if I wanted the clip I’d be more than happy to pay the entertainment industry for the quality I desire.
If I take anything away from this course it is how powerful a tool the Internet is and at the same time how dangerous the Internet has become. Only our ability to think critically about the content on the Internet is what makes the information useful.
Need I say more: