[You Tube Logo]The YouTube & LiveVideo intrigue continues. I spent a good chunk of Saturday night moving through videos associated with it. Currently, there are nearly 400 video posts that have been made as part of the discussion Renetto began. To put that in perspective, at an average length of five minutes a piece, they currently total over 33 hours of potential footage to review. And the number of responses is rapidly increasing.

I’m not quite ready to fully break things down. I have flagged a number of threads that have emerged.

  • Community
    Everything gets back to the poster’s notions of community. Renetto’s original post accused people of being traitors to “YouTube.” Many responders have identified a major distinction between YouTube the company and the community at YouTube. Few see a specific allegiance to YouTube. Most feel an allegiance to each others.
  • Content Ownership
    This is tied directly to the notion of community, and to the recent media blitz on social computing. Take for example the crowning quote from the 2006 Time Person of the Year issue:

    FOR seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you.???
    Lev Grossman,
    TIME Magazine, December 25, 2006

    The YouTube (and LiveVideo) posters state over and over again that Time was talking about them and not YouTube. While they acknowledge that YouTube provided a novel solution, most posters feel anyone could have done that (and will do so in the future). For posters, the real value came not from the technology, but the content they created. In thier narrative, they were the ones that made YouTube famous. In fact, the general feeling is that YouTube rode to riches on the backs of its posters.

  • YouTube is not part of the YouTube Community
    Add one and two together and you get this. While YouTube posters acknowledge that they are being provided with a free service, they feel that doesn’t make them beholden to the site. Posters also don’t feel the YouTube management (who they refer to to by their first name: Chad, Steve, and Jawed) cares about the community. Many posters indicated that a community requires two way conversation, and that communication to YouTube Management is always one way: posters voice their concerns, but the concerns are never listened to. Some noted the irony that YouTube created a video communication system and then refused to use that tool to engage their own community. This perceived lack of communication, coupled with the notion that YouTube got rich through the efforts of the posters, has led to a lot of the tension (most compliment LiveVideo for it’s rapid response to issues).
  • Google, Money, and Infrastructure
    This one is particularly interesting. So the YouTube community feel’s that community is a two way street. One manifestation of that is communication. Management isn’t talking to them. A second manifestation is in infrastructure. If YouTube fixed the problems that the community has with the technology, then things would be better. But they don’t see that as the case. This is only exacerbated by the influx of Google dollars. In the communities eyes, if 1.6 billion has been invested in YouTube, the least they can do is stabilize the system. Further, considering Google is synonymous with innovation, the community questions why everything wasn’t fixed overnight.1

Well, that’s a start at it. There’s a lot more going on and more to come.

I’ll close with an interesting phrase that’s been popping up as well Plastic Fame, when “one believes they are internet celebrity because they have a large subscriber base.” This particular definition is pulled fromRocco’s House: Plastic Fame SyndromeWhile this post was made prior to Renetto’s initial rant, it was often referenced in response posts like the following one: Fayecast #4: Plastic Fame Syndrome2

As far as I can tell, I’ve tracked the earliest use of the phrase “plastic fame” to this v-blog posting, made in response to another YouTube member’s announcement she was leaving the community.

As to where “Plastic Fame” came from, the best I can come up with is the neo-punk group AFI’s song Paper Airplanes (makeshift wings):

As waves of plastic fame
Go out of fashion,
You’re going out forever unknown.
These waves of plastic fame are drying up
And I smile because you’re dying to become forever unknown.

Without a doubt, this concept of Plastic Fame bubbles beneath all of these discussions. Within the next few days I’m going to take a shot at tackling that.

Bernius, M. (2007) a war of video communities – part 1 – history, http://www.waking-dream.com/blog
Grossman, L. (2006) “TIME???s Person of the Year: You.??? TIME Magazine, 12/25/2006.

1 – What’s interesting to note is the similarity to some of the US’s current issues in Iraq. One of the things analysts have noted is that many Iraqi’s assumed that since the US was a technological and military superpower they should have been immediately able to stabilize the infrastructure — i.e. “if you can put an man on the moon, you should be able to make the lights stay on in Baghdad.”

2 – I’d prefer to show the videos here (the rational for which will be discussing in a future post). Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t want to play “nice” with the <embed> command and LiveVideo. So until the video posting plug-in is updated for that, I’ll have to wait and post links.