The first thing that I did on April Fool’s Day was to check all of my favorite websites for special features. YouTube was my first checkpoint and I was not disappointed. If you haven’t seen “The YouTube Collection” you should definitely check it out. It’s so well done and my blog won’t make much sense if you haven’t seen it.
As tongue-in-cheek as this video is, it directly relates to what we talked about in class today, that there are so many YouTube videos that no one person (or a group of lawyers) could ever hope to watch them all in a lifetime. In fact, as the video says, there is approximately an hour of video uploaded every second. This idea is mind-blowing because the worldwide connectivity of YouTube could not be possible without the technological advances of the internet, but the popularity of YouTube has actually surpassed human capability.
This concept can be expanded to include video games, hypertext poetry or even interactive fiction because these genres are always growing even as we view/play them. So our job as consumers of electronic literature and technology is to decide what we want to spend our time doing. Do we want to listen to every dubstep remix on YouTube or work our way through every interactive fiction that we can find? For me, it is important to sort through the mediocrity and find the works of quality and luckily there are systems in place that make it easier to do so. I have a finely tuned subscription list on YouTube and I rely on those Youtubers to inform me about other vloggers or music videos that are worthwhile to watch. I think the IFComp is another great way to find the cream of the crop, if you will. But then again, if we rely on those systems that were greated by individuals with subjective tastes are we limiting ourselves? What if a YouTube video or a hypertext poem or an interactive fiction that could have changed our whole worldview doesn’t get recognized by “the powers that be?”
As far as YouTube’s contribution to electronic literature goes, I think there is definitely something to be said for the trend of vlogging or video blogging. Just like some blogs(or books for that matter) are literary and some are vapid, so are vlogs. In my opinion, some vlogs could be considered made-in-the-moment memoirs. I’m a big fan of the vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers) and I would argue that there is a level of cleverness, originality and story-telling in their work that would hold its own with published memoirs. Vlogging, however, has the benefit of being released at a specific moment in time, so that other people can experience it as a community and then respond back directly to the creators themselves. Plus, as cheesy as it sounds, some of the vlogbrothers’ vlogs have changed my way of thinking.
There’s a lot of good stuff out in the interwebs, just make sure you are using your limited life span to its full potential.