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Tube Boob - That's me!

I am a huge fan of YouTube. Not so much of the examples Garfield cites in his article in Wired but of the endless hours of illusive Warner Brothers originals that exist (probably illegally) on the site. My husband and I miss the violent cartoons we grew up with and we insist that our son should grow up knowing the wisdom of Wile E Coyote and Bugs Bunny. To that end, instead of watching "My Friend Rabbit" and "Vegi tales" (which my son also loves) on TV during breakfast on Saturday mornings, we hook up the laptop to our kitchen TV and he watches good old Looney Toons. According to those who disagree with violent cartoons, my husband and I are breeding a serial killer - or at the very least a bully. Despite our effort to corrupt our son, we have a sweet kid who has absolutely no understanding of gravity.

That said, I will admit I miss the "Evolution of Dance" and watched it tonight for nostalgia. Then I read the rest of the article. The point Garfield made that stuck out the most to me was, "Another possibility is that potential litigants are simply being patient. They understand YouTube's value to them as a marketing tool and are waiting for a technological solution" (Garfield, 2006. Page 4). This was the point I was trying to make when we posted about copyright and fair use a few weeks ago. Copyright infringement doesn't always have to be detrimental to the artist! Geez people, let's try a glass half full attitude. The music sharing sites are some of the greatest examples of how people are sharing their music to be discovered - the more views the better, please pass it along.

The same is true for YouTube. People post for attention, to be discovered, to showcase their talents. Because as reality TV has proven, America's got Talent and no matter what talent that is, so long as it has an audience it is worth sharing. Some people post to share their views with others and some do it for advertising. In a competitive economy like we have today, I am shocked and amazed that people haven't started posting video resumes for companies to magically find. I would imagine using YouTube to apply for a position might at least get your resume reviewed at Google...if great minds think alike and the recruiters could find you!

That brings me to the topic of Weinburger's Everything is Miscellaneous. Weinburger speaks casually about the order in chaos and how tags and folksonomies work for today's online masses, but he doesn't make a solid connection between the tag and the keyword search. Tags are successful only when someone else refers to an object/item/document the same way you do. For example, in our site search I ran into a number of articles about the republican national committee when I searched for RNC. The same goes for PCD which is a process challenge device in my world, but the first entry in Wikipedia under the acronym is "Partido Conservador Demócrata, a political party in Nicaragua". If I tagged a photo or video as "PCD" based on what I know the acronym to mean; I imagine there would be a great many disappointed searchers looking for photos or video of the Pussycat Dolls.

My point is that in order for tags to mean anything and be of any use, they have to have meaning common to all users - and this is where folksonomy comes in to play and the multiple tag concept or the "semantic web" (Weinburger 194) - when more than one tag match is used to generate the best search results. The example Weinburger gives is the results for London versus the results for London, England versus the results for London, Ontario (Weinburger 194). Same goes for a search for sterilization in Flickr or YouTube - look it up, I dare you! You will find maybe a photo of an autoclave or two if you page through the results, but for the most part it is surgical procedures on animals. Let me reiterate here that my job is medical device sterilization - and as far as I know bacterial rights hasn't become a "hot button" issue yet. Support bacteria, it's the only culture some people have!

Comments

Liz,

The first paragraph of your post is so funny I lol'd! I can't believe I just typed that. haha! They used to have breakfast and cartoons at the Suburban World theater. You could order eggs and watch Tom and Jerry brutalize each other! How I miss it!
I'm not as avid a YouTube fan as you are but I'm learning to like it. I understand the draw of YouTube. I think it's the same thing that makes people drink a beer and sign up for karaoke. Many of us like to be watched doing something silly, smart, or sad, as long as we are the "star" of the show. YouTube enables millions of people to create their own mini movie and view the clip that everyone was talking about. I was just watching vh1 video clips (don't judge) and they were showing star wars boy. Even I, who barely looked at YouTube knows exactly who star wars boy is. Poor guy, he changed high school, got therapy and eventually sued the kids that released his video.

I agree that not everyone comes up with the same tags or keywords for the same article, picture, video, etc. Sometimes this makes it very difficult to find a specific item that you are looking for. It might also lead you to perform multiple searches until you finally figure out the right keyword!