You Tube – The dark (yet delightful) side of the Information Age

Posted on Sep 4, 2007

As a C-list internet celebrity, I am perhaps more conscious than most of the growing phenomenon of online amateur (or as I prefer to call it ‘semi-professional’ – not that this term has any meaning whatsoever) broadcasting. Sites like You Tube and its nefarious imitators are allowing anyone with a camera and an internet connection the ability to sing and dance for the world to see (often all too literally).

Living in these modern times, one can often lose perspective of how completely without precedent this is. Even the ancient days of public-access cable still required a considerable amount of effort to reach an extremely limited audience. Now broadcasting is as simple as a 30 second upload, after which people from anywhere in the world can see what you choose to present – and people choose to present some pretty bizarre things.

The impact on culture has already been profound; every embarrassing celebrity moment from the infamous comments of Michael ‘Kramer’ Richards to presidential candidate Howard Dean’s ‘I have a scream’ speech are put up on the site, often edited for the sake of humour, and watched by tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. An entire culture has grown up around sharing funny or interesting videos.

If this has demonstrated one thing, it is that people, as a whole, are considerably weirder then you’d expect.

For example; if not for You Tube, I would never have seen a pelican eat a pigeon whole. I feel my life would be somehow less meaningful if I had not seen that, that’s for sure. Click if you dare!

Seeing what it is like even now, I speculate about the future of this sort of thing – constantly expanding, a million people all showing each other every silly thing they can possibly find. It is the very hallmark of the information age, the free sharing of data with the entire world. Endlessly. Even if the world doesn’t want it.

Like the fact that pelicans eat pigeons. Or that frat guys like to do stupid things while drunk!

All valuable data. My suggestion – do not fight it. Pick up your camera, remove your shame and show the world what you can do. Pile your contribution onto the glorious information rich goo of the post-modern world.

Who knows; one day, it might make you famous (it’s happened). Or infamous – in the end they work out about the same anyway.