Required Viewing: An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube
At the Library of Congress, anthropologist Michael Wesch recently presented a talk on the nature of YouTube: how memes spread, how users generate content, and a detailed history of some of YouTube's greatest hits. It's the first academic treatment I've seen of YouTube and its associated phenomena. Addressed in detail: the nature of vlogs; the webcam and "context collapse"; Free Hugs: a hero for our mediated culture; YouTube's anthenticity crisis: the story of LonelyGirl15; and much, much more.
If you're interested in an anthropological perspective on YouTube and online communities, check it out: