An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch

I caught this on Webmonkey yesterday and was blown away by this video production that Michael Wesch presented to the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008. Dr. Michael Wesch is an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, and is doing some very interesting work in the field of digital ethnography.

This is a truly fascinating presentation:


More information can be found at Mediated Cultures, and at Anthrovlog

Check out this list of projects going on at MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium.

It’s an amazing field and well worth watching what these people are doing.

2008 Metaverse Tour

This was posted to Facebook recently by John McMullen. Here’s what caught my eye: “There are more than 300 million registered participants in non-game Social Virtual Worlds.”  The quote comes from K Zero – a virtual worlds consultancy.

This YouTube has great video clips of a number of virtual worlds interspersed with fantastic quotes. Take seven minutes and check it out.

Blurring the Lines


We continue to blur lines between real and not real, as well as human and non-human. Once we get people thinking of robots as people, will this make exploration of Mars as exciting as humans on the moon? How long before they make these things look like R2D2 and C3PO so we can actually care about them as we do people?

I think we’re going to see a lot more of this humanization of objects, along with the use of Second Life as a “You are There” type of platform. Once we have online social relationships with NASA’s equipment, along with it’s employees, it seems like the next logical step will be increased interest and funding. The fact that NASA is early with the use of this stuff – Second Life, social networking, creating relationships – makes me wonder about some things:

Are they just quick to jump on the opportunity?

Does NASA have a marketing team? Or just smart, fun employees?

Is this stuff working for them because deep down we still have romantic dreams of space?

Why aren’t other scientific organizations building friendships on social networking sites? (I haven’t found any on FB, although there are tons in SL.)

Here’s an interview with the Phoenix Mars Lander:

By the way, Phoenix is one of my friends on Facebook which is how I found out about “her” recent interview.