Who ever thought of YouTube as a culture? I definitely did not, but as I began to think about it, it is a culture that has more impact than most other cultures in our society. Think about it, we have school culture, local culture and national culture, the things that we have in common with the people that surround us. We share attitudes, beliefs, morals and practices. With YouTube there is a ‘context collapse’, which means that YouTube creates an environment in which the context is not known. YouTubers do not know their video will be viewed by one hundred people or one billion people. Some people say that the world is getting smaller and that could not be truer. The direct evidence is nothing short of the YouTube phenomenon.
The spread of media has created a worldwide culture. Anyone who has access to the internet develops connections with so many others and therefore is influenced by others in the ways of beliefs values and opinions. By putting yourself on the web and spending time in that culture we open ourselves up to a “one world” culture. The gaps between nationalities, race, religion and countries are becoming smaller. The YouTube community expresses this culture and their values by three simple things out lined by anthropologist Michael Wesch.
We express individualism but value community
We express commercialism but value authenticity
We express independence but value relationships
Every statement shows that the community on the web is there to express themselves and who they are but in turn web users build connections and relationships with other web users.
What does this mean for future teachers and students? As I said before, the world is getting smaller, much smaller. The ‘other’ (race, religion, ability, gender) is not so unfamiliar any more. Since culture is becoming worldwide there is not much that is left unknown. Children and adults alike, fear the unknown and then pass judgements based on that fear. These judgements come across as racism, sexism and as many other –isms as you can think of. With the web children are exposed to all kinds and the other will no longer be the ‘other’ but part of the whole. This is wrapped up when Wesch says that YouTube and the self awareness that accompanies it gives people the “freedom to experience humanity without fear or anxiety.”