Pasqua: YouTube and Kony

Photo from AP

1) Michael Wesch examined YouTube under an anthropologic lens to begin to understand how this access to new media, uploading videos, would change human interactions and relationships. In the last six months, YouTube has provided more content than 60 years worth of broadcast television which is mostly user generated. YouTube as provided a platform that celebrates voice, community, imagination, and new ways to connect. Wesch traced the roots of YouTube and human responses and reactions to the posted videos. Some of the responses include recreations of videos, direct video commentary or dialogue, or reformatting the videos. He highlighted several observations how YouTube reveals reflections of self and identity through vlogs. YouTube and other social media platforms are changing the ways we interact and be in community with one another.

2-3) Ever since the Kony video launch last week, I have had an internal struggle of its content and read several critiques of the content and requests of the video. I’m impressed by its power and popularity it has created within a week and think that it speaks volume to its connection to youth. A major theme that Michael Wesch discussed in his presentation was the nature of connection and how YouTube has created a new avenue for connection and community. I believe that Kony is an example of how individuals are connection to something that is bigger themselves or for the common good. Micheal used an example of the request of writing on hands. Most of the comments were of hope, love, and oneness. One some level, whether I agree with it or not, the Kony video promoted oneness to fight against Kony and what he stands for.

Each week I meet with the students in the Rider Bonner Community Scholar Program. This week’s meeting was a continued focused on youth and revolt and we discussed the Kony video. We watched the first two minutes and then discussed support of the video and critiques and then the student’s reactions. Part of the coversation revolved around the claim in the beginning of the video that the way we communicate has changed due to social media and sharing ideas with people that we love. Over the course of the year, we have discussed how social media can be used as a part of activism, but this video I believe showed them the power that it could have and something that was recent that the majority saw through different social media outlets. Working in higher ed, it is important to have these conversations with students of why they think this video was powerful, give them ways to think about it critically, and nudge them to pursue more action that sharing the idea. As we understand our students, it will give us a better understanding on how best to educate them on the issues they are passionate about and develop ways to help them critically think about important or controversial topics. Specifically for the Kony coversation we used resources from this tumblir: http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

4) I am very much fascinated by the work of Michael Wecsh and his research on this fairly recent phenonmenon of YouTube. I want to explore more the use of YouTube video and action outside YouTube. Wecsh discussed a lot of reactions recorded through video of responses. But also thinking of the Kony video, are videos effective in garnering action? How many people will “cover the night” or buy a starter kit. I would like to understand more of the use of YouTube in social movement. In the credits, one of Wecsh’s assistants focused on social movements. Wecsh’s presentation did touch on this finding if there were any, but I imagine if he has someone focused on this topic there may be some research explored.

6) As educators and leaders, what should we know about YouTube and its influences on the individuals we learn?

How would an viral video, like Kony, effect other social movements like Occupy Wallstreet or could have effected the Civil Rights Movement?

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