Monday, December 10, 2007

Musings on youtube

Youtube is a black hole that will suck you in if you are not careful. One video leads to another, and another, and another, and before you know it, you've just spent all day staring at computer screen.

But it's FUN!

Some of the things I've watched on youtube:
-a praying mantis capturing a mouse (I couldn't believe it!)
-a bike messenger race through New York City (you will cringe, as the camera is mounted on the biker's helmet)
-a showdown between a scorpion and a spider
-gypsies dancing in Romania
-flatfoot dancing
-fainting goats fainting on the field

my very own husband setting off the fire alarm at his school (see below for the video)!

Like any web 2.0 application, youtube has it good points and stupid points (I'm sure there are plenty of frat house parties and other similar wild things that college students will live to regret when they get a job and their employer finds this out). It's good for learning about some really interesting things--where else can you see the Roma gypsies dancing, or a praying mantis catching something--anytime and anywhere? Many people, librarians included, are using youtube as a cheap way to post presentations on a variety of things, like how to do successful research or explaining how something like social bookmarking works (as the people behind the Learning 2.0 here at EKU have taken advantage of).

Youtube could be a way of enhancing library websites--librarians could make short videos that take patrons on a virtual tour of library resources, for instance. Students at universities might appreciate this. I have several concerns. One is the students living off-campus who may not have a robust internet connection that can support streaming video. Will they be left behind?

Another is more personal--what about hearing impaired people like me? I really don't have any use for videos that talk a lot for the obvious reason that I can't understand them. Is there a possibility of adding a closed-caption option to videos on the internet so that people like me can use them?

For now, the only thing I get out of youtube are the videos that rely more on visuals than sound--which is why I watch a lot of animals, or people doing things.

For a rather bizarre youtube video that is more of an inside joke than really interesting, see March of the Librarians.

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