Friday, December 5, 2008

With a 100 million videos watched a day YouTube is rightfully dubbed the world’s fastest growing website. In fact, out of all the video’s watched on the internet today 60% of them are watched on YouTube. All of this is what makes YouTube such a great Web 2.0 medium, before its creation in 2005 there was no video site as easy to use as YouTube. Even though YouTube has a lot of other competing video sites today, it is still the most favored by the most users. YouTube basically allows users to watch many different kinds of videos and also allows users to comment, rate and share them. Making it a great example of how far Web 2.0 technologies have come, and how revolutionary they can be.

Chances are that anyone who is reading this has heard of or has used YouTube before, YouTube is a website that users can watch many different kinds of videos or even create their own and upload it on to the site. Once you create an account it becomes very easy for users to upload their own videos on to YouTube, with a few simple clicks of a mouse your content is online for millions of people to see. Although YouTube today has many competitors such as Yahoo Video, MySpace Video, AOL Uncut, Mega Video and Hulu, YouTube still is watched by the most people on the internet watching videos online.

Now anyone can become a producer of online content, by uploading their own videos and probably why so many people are using YouTube. This is also why there is a reported 70,000 video s uploaded per day by YouTube users, people want to produce and create their own media and uploading videos is easy on YouTube. Data also suggests that user generated content is over 80% of what makes up YouTube. But there is still plenty of other great things to watch on YouTube also, even if you’re not making your own videos. (Digital Ethnography Statistics)

From movie trailers to music videos and instructional videos, YouTube has tons of content for anyone’s enjoyment. Mathematically as of March of 2008 YouTube had 412.3 years of content on it, meaning if you were to sit down and watch every video you would be there for 412 years. So there is definitely something on YouTube for everybody to watch. The most current statistic suggests that on YouTube as of March of 2008 there were 78.3 million videos, which is an astonishing amount. Broken down by video category, the two most popular are music and entertainment which is the bulk of what users are watching the data suggests. Although there are many other video categories some examples are science, travel, pets, how to’s, news, films, autos, education, sports, comedy can all be watched with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Current demographics on YouTube suggest that the all ages of people view the site, from 12 years old to over 65 years old. The majority of users though is between the ages of 18-25 and is usually a male that uses the site regularly statistics show (chart from my presentation)

The inventors of YouTube Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim all of which were PayPal employees at the time came up with the idea of creating the site at a dinner party in Silicon Valley in 2004. The reason they came up with the site is because they were all very familiar with how hard it was to share videos with your friends across the internet. Then they created a the first version of YouTube, but it was still unclear of how well the site would perform and what people would be using the site for. Then suddenly people started uploading all kinds of videos to the site such as stand up routines, police brutality videos and many more interesting things. Users began uploading breaking news stories and eyewitness footage of many conflicts around the world. YouTube as we know it had been created where a 100 million videos are streamed every day. YouTube became happiest accident to the creators ever. The sites unintentional take off and popularity of being the fastest growing site on the internet today was an instant success to the creators who then sold the site to Google for 1.65 billion dollars in stock. Then the company moved out of its 30 person office over a pizzeria in San Mateo, California to a huge headquarters in San Bruno California.

Now YouTube has become much more professional with partnerships with NBC, Sony BMG, Universal Music, CBS and Warner Music. This allows users to watch much more content on YouTube legally and serves as great advertising. YouTube users are now able to watch full movie trailers, listen to pre-released music albums and watch selected television shows , through these partnerships YouTube has with many other companies. The advertising is great for these companies on YouTube, who makes also makes a profit from this. (Time 2006)

There are many implications of YouTube on society and individuals, specifically issues of copyright materials being on the site. Secondly, the blocking of YouTube in specific countries and finally issues of user’s privacy when using the website all seem to have a large social impact. Issues of copyright have been plaguing YouTube, companies such as Viacom and English Premier League have filed lawsuits against YouTube in court. (Wikipedia). Viacom sued YouTube for an astonishing amount of 1 billion dollars, YouTube was allegedly guilty of hosting 150,000 clips of copyrighted materials that had been viewed over 1.5 billion times already. Viacom is a Media conglomerate based here in the United States and owns various television networks and deals also with movie production and distribution, specifically Paramount Pictures and Dream works Studios. The companies Viacom and YouTube finally reached a deal over the whole issue of all these copyrighted materials being present on YouTube.

“Viacom has agreed to let Google strip identifying information from YouTube viewers' data before complying with a judge's order to hand over the records as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Viacom and other parties to the litigation agreed to allow YouTube to remove user names and computer Internet protocol (IP) addresses from the data to ensure protection of users' privacy, YouTube said in a blog posting late Monday night. YouTube is a Google subsidiary.

We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we'll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube," reads the posting.

In addition to seeking damages, Viacom said it wants an injunction prohibiting Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and YouTube from further copyright infringement.”(Frayter 2008)

In this court case YouTube was ordered to turn over all these records to Viacom, but the data contained sensitive material, like user IP addresses. So in turn Viacom could see what users watched which videos, which is an enormous invasion of privacy. Users should not have to worry if it will ever be known if they watched a copyrighted video clip online, now it seems though that you have to be more careful of what you watch. You never know when a website might have their records of users accounts and information subpoenaed and you might be at risk for a law suit. Users activities online, especially on a site like YouTube should be only know to the user but today it seems that everything we do online is be tracked more.

In the end Viacom filed for an injunction preventing this kind of thing from happening again, and now YouTube employs software that checks for copyright infringement on everything users upload. I think Chad Hurley put it best when had this to say on copyright issues--

"The real challenge old media face isn't protecting their precious copyrighted material. It's figuring out what to do when the rest of us make something better. As Hurley puts it, "How do you stay relevant when people can entertain themselves?" He and his partners may have started YouTube, but the rest of us, in our basements and bedrooms, with our broadband and our webcams, invented it."(Time 2008)

Hurley obviously realizes that copyrighted matieral is not the problem on YouTube, its keeping up with all the various kinds of content people put up on the site and their ideas of whats entertaining and funny and what's not, which is always changing.

Also the issue of YouTube being blocked in certain countries seems to have a social impact, that says maybe some cultures don’t want our fancy new technologies or for their people to protest. Specifically, the instance in Tibet where the government blocked online news coverage on multiple websites and blocked out YouTube completely.

“Reporters Without Borders on Monday said that YouTube has been censored since March 16, after videos of street demonstrations in Lhasa were posted on the site. The press advocacy group also said that the BBC, CNN, andYahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) News have been inaccessible over the past few days.

Reporters Without Borders also decried Chinese authorities' refusal to allow foreign correspondents into the country and the expulsion of some 25 journalists already there.

"The freedom of movement for foreign journalists had been one of the few positive developments ahead of the Olympic Games, but this is now being flouted by the Chinese government facing Tibetan protests," the press freedom group said. "Yet again the Chinese government is trampling on the promises it made linked to the Olympics and has [been] preparing the ground to crack down on the Tibetan revolt in the absence of witnesses."

YouTube has been blocked before by countries like Burma, Brazil, China, Iran, Morocco, Thailand, and Turkey. Last month, Pakistan's effort to censor the site for showing allegedly anti-Islamic material inadvertently disrupted access to the site around the globe” (Claburn 2008)

Everyone should have the right to view YouTube, these countries that are blocking access to the site are trying to suppress their own people. The site in its own way is making a major impact around the world on people, unfortunately some negative impact is associated with YouTube in these instances. Not everyone wants to see our great American way of life, some foreign governments are trying to suppress this as much as possible. Blocking access to news sites and coverage by the government is wrong and attempts to spread government domination. People should be allowed to view whatever they want, and not have to worry about the government blocking out sites, that is pure Communism. YouTube is a great new technology and people from all around the world are already enjoying it. YouTube has its own sites in 20 different countries, including France, Spain, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Italy, Spain, India and many more. Unfortunately, not everyone sees YouTube as a great and here it has had a big impact and made some people angry with the site. Differnet culutres expect differnt things and our way of culture is very open to a web site like YouTube. In these middle eastearn cultures, they dont have the same sense of humor we have here in America so YouTube would not be very funny to them. There is a shift in news coverage latley, people want raw unfiltered or censored news and information from people who actually live there instead of news jouranalists. Thats why these sites are becoming so popular because people can make their own content.

YouTube is a great example to a new and exciting Web 2.0 technology, and it just shows how if you have a good website people are going to use it. YouTube in a sense revolutionized the way we watch videos online and how we share them, making both so easy to do. When you think of all the great things YouTube has to offer us in its full 412 hours comprehensive library the possibilities are endless. With the revolution of many more Web 2.0 technologies we will see many more amazing things in the years to come.


Clayburn, T (2008 March ). YouTube Blocked by China. Information Week, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from

Digital Ethnography YouTube Statistics. Retrieved December 5, 2008, from Digital Ethnography Web site:

Frayter, T (2008 March ). Google, Viacom Reach Data Deal. CNN Money, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from

Grossman, l (2006). Best Inventions 2006. Time Magazine, Retrieved Dec 2, 2008, from

Wikipedia. Retrieved December 5, 2008, from YouTube Web site:

Monday, November 24, 2008

C.9 Dodgeball and Social Organizing

Today we were assigned to read Clay Shirky's Here comes everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations in chapter 9. This reading deals with the "Small World Network" which was a theory by Ducan Watts and Steve Strogatz founded in 1998. Shirky gives the example of someone sitting on a plane talking with the passenger next to him or her, only to find out that he or she knows the same person. This example demonstrates the "Small World Network," and Shirky shows evidence of the chances of this happening are quite good because of something called "Homophily" which means "grouping of like with like" (Shirky p. 213.) This means that you are grouped with others who ride airplanes and that you share with your fellow passengers living in the same city along with sharing the same arrival destination. All of this makes the likelihood of knowing the same people, all that much greater. Shirky also points out that the chances of you knowing the same "highly connected people" as your seatmate are high. (Shirky P. 214) This all leads to evidence of the "Small World Network" existing in everyday communication interactions and the real world applicability of the "Six degrees of separation", which means basically "any two people are connected together by only a few links" (Shirky p. 214), which all the more makes it a much smaller world.

Watts and Strogatz "Small World Network" is illustrated well in the example Shirky gave, but he also notes that this theory has two main characteristics. Firstly, small groups must maintain a pattern of communication in which "everyone connects with everyone" and must be "densely connected" (Shirky p. 215) in order tohave free flowing communication. Also, even if one of the links disappears, the other communication links within that group are unaffected. Shirky also points out that a second characteristic is "Large groups are sparsely connected" and have a lot more connections as a whole (Shirky p. 215.) He notes that if the network's size grew too large it would be unusable and communication would not work well. Shirky finally reaches the conclusion that both of these characteristics must be employed -- having a tightly connected small group is the foundation, and then you can connect all these different various groups.

Shirky gives the example of him going to a bar, and using the social networking site "Dodgeball" which is designed for use with cellular phones. Just by sending a simple text message he informs all his friends of his arrival at the bar, so they all are aware of where he is. "Dodgeball" is a very advanced networking site and like Facebook it uses "friend of a friend networking" which means that it has the ability to show mutual friends that people share. This networking then shows Shirky that there is a shared friend at the bar he is presently at, only minutes later. Sending a digital photo to Shirky's phone of this friend, this example further illustrates the "Small World Patter" made possible with the assitance of the latest technology. This all comes back to Shirky's theory of understanding that "Larger network is a sparsely linked group of more densely linked subnetworks" you can apply it to many real world situations today. (Shirky p. 220)

He also gives examples of protest's being organized in California by students through the use of Myspace and text messaging, through communication chains of friends of friends that share interest of similar topics. A demonstration was born, the people that would be interested in the protest found out about through contacts while other did not. This all surprised the school officials who had no idea of this protest forming. The ability of these new technologies were finally realized, this also illustrates the "Small World Network" because it can spread information or exclude it.

Shirky's reading seems all very interesting to me, it happens to me sometimes that I meet people and we know the same people. Even up here in Albany, I met someone who claimed to know my cousin 200 miles away from here and it turned out they were from the same town and went to the same highschool. In fact they did know each other. I like to look at it as a mystery or a ill-odded coincidence, but this reading explains this phenomena in a way that I can understand it better in some situations. Shirky's gives the same evidence in the reading, because they were from the same town and went to the same school the chances of them knowing eachother is not that unlikely. Which is supported in the reading with examples of it happening. This makes this situation not so much of an mystery anymore, which is what this reading has helped me realize.

Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Essay #4

Gizmodo is a technology blog that has many various posts of new and up-and-coming technologies in the U.S. and other countries. Over seven days I have observed various articles on cars, Mars rovers, speed cameras, robots, supercomputers and NASA rockets, along with many other interesting topics. Gizmodo is the blog to go to for any new technology that you would want to read about. It offers little bits of information and only highlights the important parts, leaving you with a clear understanding of what the post was about, without reading 10 pages. Once you are granted approval by the administrators on this website, you can comment and post your blogs.

I found it interesting that in blogosphere and in various other sites such as Digg, Gizmodo and other blogs, that it is the users that create the content and make the posts, and not some other editor or writer for the website. I think that users creating posts on topics that they find interesting, without any sort of influence from the mass media, is what makes these types of blogs good. The user does not have to be an expert to make a post on any of these sites, but as long as there is some documentation of sources that is adequate enough. Barlow states that "the ability to create at the same time "station" where one receives changes both perception and interaction, bringing the web into a new realm of mass media where resources extend to all of the one-separate media and more, where the user can manipulate the multiplying available items in ever-increasing fashion." (Barlow 45 C.2) Barlow gives the example of "fan fiction" which is when people take parts of Television commercials or situations and create their own productions or episodes based on them, and upload them to the Web. This, Barlow states, shows "people acting on media creations rather then simply absorbing them." (Barlow 45)

I believe this is the same with blogs -- the ability that we all have to create web content from all these different sources on the Internet allows any of us to become producers of our "own" content. Anyone can now take a story that they read on a news website or that they heard on the news, and go to Gizmodo and consolidate the information down to the important facts. This ability that we all have is important because now instead of simply just absorbing what all these different media outlets are telling us (becoming passive), we now become active and can create our own responses to this information. By creating our own posts with opinions and thoughts on various content we are becoming an active audience. As I have observed on Gizmodo, a user read an article on a new type of car coming to our country and got some basic information. This user then had the ability to create his or her own post and consolidate the information in a way that they saw more informative or interesting. I think the ability to do this is exactly what Barlow was talking about -- as an audience, we are becoming much more "active" by creating our own content and commenting on others, as well as editing existing posts, as opposed to a passive audience that just absorbs whatever the media gives them. The best part about blogs is that the information cannot really have any bias or mass media influence. It's the users creating the posts -- not some newspaper editor that is writing for a job or political influence.

Becoming a producer of content also comes with great responsibility of obeying legal constraints and avoiding plagiarism at all costs. The question of ownership on the Internet, as Barlow states, is one of the biggest controversies today. As I have observed, many posts on Gizmodo incorporated videos from YouTube and other video sites, audio clips, and various images from all over the Internet. I feel that this is what makes all these posts interesting, and by using pictures and video it really enhances the blogs for everyone. I believe that credit for copyrighted materials must be given when it's due and that more authors must utilize the concept of the Fair Use Act. This act stipulates a four proponent test to determine if use of the copyrighted material is legal without consent of the author. This is important for users to understand if they want to become producers of online content.

Observation # 5

Today on Gizmodo there was a post on the Mars rover called Spirit, that may become in-operable soon. The rover had been on Mars for about five years and has collected a vast amount of information for NASA. The scientist say that a bad sand storm messed with the solar panels on the Mars rover and might make it in -operable from now on. The comments on this blog were pretty funny, alot of people felt that NASA should have known about this problem and took actions against it. The user "Navvywayy"comments pretty much spoke for everyone when he/she said

"What would we have discovered if the thing still worked?

Nasa Scientist 1: So, is mars still red today?
Nasa Scientist 2: Let me check the rover. Dammit - it's shut down! HOW ARE WE GOING TO TELL IF MARS IS STILL RED?!"

Althought this obviously is not the case, its still funny and shows how much they like to joke around on this blog and make fun of things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Observation # 4

Today on Gizmodo I read an article about Speed Trap cameras in many other countires, and how they are just coming here to the U.S. In this post they talked about how all these cameras are placed around the country already are catching a large number of people speeding. A lot of people on the blog felt that this new type of technology was an invasion of privacy, and offerd advice and stories of ways to beat these new camears. The user "Sortafast" had this to say

"If speed limits were about safety, cars would be electronically limited to 55mph.

Speed limits are about REVENUE. It's all about catching you speeding so the local municipality can make money off the tickets.

I call it what it really is. The "Highway Tax"."

And alot of the other people on this blog agreed with him, although one user " Alchemistmerlin " was in opposition to what the majority of people were saying stating that "


"I should only follow the law if someone who might punish me can see me. Otherwise I should do whatever I want."

Your parents have taught you fantastically, and I'm glad you have such consideration for the safety of others on the road."

And took basically a vigilant approach on this topic, that others did not seem to wholly agree with. Some users felt stongly against this technology, although a few others felt it was justified and were criticizing others.

Observation # 3

Today on Gizmodo I observed a post on a posture correcting device, which basically gives the user a small shock when perfect posture is not being used. This product just came to the United States and people on the blog are skeptical about it. A lot of users where basically saying it was a waste of money, although many did acknowledge that poor posture is a problem affecting many American today. Some of the users brought up issues of the products high price, of 90 U.S. dollars. Saying it was way to much money for this product.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obseravtion # 2

Today I looked at a post on Gizmodo about Dell computers deals on black friday and I left comment on how every year they do the same thing and offer great savings to customers. This year is better then ever in the specials they are offering, specifically due to people are not going to be spending as much on the holidays this year. Still waiting to be approved for comments on the Gizmodo Blog, I might have to choose another blog to obeserve because for whatever reason I am not able to the right to comment yet.