The Cultural Phenomenon of YouTube Paper

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Unformatted text preview: cess of a new media phenomenon fitting into an existing culture. (Snickars 13) YouTube is referred to as a platform to emphasize its political, cultural, economic, and technological significance. It is a virtual place where discourse occurs in all forms. In 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion and had thirteen million visitors every day (Snickars 10). This figure has since multiplied and YouTube is one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Its popularity will only continue to increase and its effect is difficult to accurately calculate. YouTube has had both positive and negative effects on society. When big media co-exists with homemade, personal content the question of credibility needs to be raised. A content survey on the origins of 4,320 videos discovered that “just over half the material were coded as coming from user-created sources- content produced outside of the mainstream, broadcast, or established media”(Burgess 43). This can make it difficult Gibbons 3 to discern the credibility of a source. In today’s age of Internet dependence, people tend to be naïve in trusting sources. We assume that all information is thoroughly researched and is accurate. The growing amateurism on the Web, especially YouTube can threaten already established institutions with real integrity and credibility. Author, Andrew Keen has criticized technological advancements in the modern age, particularly YouTube. “We’re never sure if what we read or see is what it seems. The user-run Internet not only allows, but encourages the invention of false identity”(Keen 79). Anonymity is rampant on millions of websites on the Internet. People can assume false identities and others are quick to believe. The issue of a lack of credibility poses a threat to various industries. The broadcast news industry is threated by the widespread anonymity on YouTube. There is a general disparity between users and experts or producers. The staff of traditional newspapers and networks is held legally responsible for all statements that editors, columnists, reporters, and news anchors make. This encourages them to maintain a certain standard of reliability, truth and intellectualism in the content they produce. Owners of websites, however, are not responsible for content posted by a third party. If websites are not held accountable, then there is little incentive to question information they post (Keen 74). Libel and slander laws prove difficult to effectively enforce on YouTube and other Internet websites. A defamatory campaign video for North Carolina’s Thirteenth Congressional District was one of the most watched videos on YouTube in November 2006. In the video Republican candidate, Vernon Robinson accused his opponent Brad M...
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