Wednesday, 23 April 2008

How Not to

... After exploring 'How to ' genre videos on YouTube and VideoJug, I could not resist sharing this wonderful promotional video, from a couple of people who make family videos for others:

there is certainly something to be learned from this ... which is about how many of the videos on websites reflect that we know a lot about self presentation, about how to engage the audience,a nd about what works on film. (There is nothing like watching other people's errors to make you realise what knowledge you have.)

For the umpteenth time yesterday I was part of a conversation where people were saying that it was terrible that there was so much rubbish 'out there'.

What is meant by this, is that on the Internet there is a lot of stuff that people do not want to read, see, watch, hear, etc. It means that there is a lot of stuff that they think is not good enough.

These opinions implies that for some, the Internet should have some kind of system that sets a minimum standard. Maybe that some people cannot participate or that each text has to be checked somewhere or somehow. I do not agree this is necessary. (I do agree that we should not have pornography or violent acts etc - dunno who judges these really though). I think these comments often come from those who use the Internet mainly for work and it is deemed to be a SERIOUS place. However for others it is the place where they play and really act in a way they cold not elsewhere. And for some it is a place where they do ALL these things.

I think anyway that we are all learning about how to judge sites. We are all finding sites that cater to our tastes and that these sites change over time (Flickr) and also that our interests tastes change as well. Why do we need to have the Internet ape printed publication rituals and values? I challenge the necessity for this and although I sometimes see sites I think are of low value for me, they are of value to others. The Internet represents a huge range of people, interests, desires, values and culture. I would not want to say who could hang out there or not.

So yeah. I am happy for the Yotubers of all shapes, sizes, denominations and stuff. Anyway. I like to research it.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

How to .....

Seems to me that so many people live their lives against a little commentary in their head.  (I am not talking schizophrenia here. I mean that little self presentational narrative .... no? OK...)
 I confess. 
When I cook I often pretend to be on the telly.
I do. 

I cut the veggies and cook the pasta and explain to my imaginary audience what I am doing. I offer top tips as I go, giving of course, a sexy little smile every now and then. (To many of my viewers this may seem like a nervous twitch or manic mannerism.
 Buy hey. 
Who can account for taste?

Some people go further. Not only do they do commentaries all the time.... but they also actually film themselves (probably doing several 'takes') make the videos,  and then  upload them to YouTube... or VideoJug (etc.).  Take for example, 'How to shave your legs': 

love the way  the video 'How to remove permanent maker (sic) from walls', actually begins with the person putting permanent marker (aka 'maker') on the wall.

Check out the first comment though ... 'Why am I watching this?'  (And at the time of writing over 1,200 people HAVE watched this). 

Well indeed you may well ask.  It is a good question.
Why are people watching this? (Of course a lot of people are NOT watching, I concede, but .... I think a lot of people tune in to LOADS of these ... and also comment.) 

I think  it must be something to do with knowing that we are not bonkers and that actually everyone is ordinary and has a lot less in common with Sarah Jessica Parker and all other 'celebrities' than they do with all the ordinary people filming themselves and living ordinary lives. I think it is something about affirming our place in the world and getting a sense of who we are and how we fit (or not) with the rest of the world. There is also something marvellous about the immediate publication and sharing process that is alluring. And to watch it is to reject the shiny and saccharine feel of polished and professional film. Maybe we are sick of it. 

Others of these 'How to'  videos are spoofs. Some of them are very funny, comedy type things and this one really makes me laugh... How to give a great man-to-man hug....

There is a genre that has been popular on UK TV for a long time now that has this very 'underproduced' feel to it ... but which in fact is carefully choreographed. YouTube is clearly, for some, the nursery slope for 'real' paid film work and people are wanting to get 'spotted' I reckon.  This one has more that 23, 500 views. 

Then of course there are the slightly competitive how to films ... this one is a scream, with someone demonstrating how fast he can fold his 'bike Friday'.  (Others in this genre include how to's on  Moonwalking, hula hooping, and such like. Well loads of stuff really.  The 'how to' is a great formula for a little video. )

I am actually quite scared that TT might be putting a video up soon... he is so proud of his little foldaway bike...
. here it is all lit up....


Friday, 18 April 2008

Random stuff on the net ...

such as:

the worst album covers ever

the cooking by numbers idea

the industrious counting machine

They are all great. I haven't used stumble upon or ages. But it was fun today.

But not as great as this:

they are the young (and gorgeous) relatives of a student on the MA in Educational Research which I teach in. They are fab. (This is the first in the 'How to' investigation.... watch out for more.)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Sheffield University Students Love YouTube

It is a year since the Information Commons opened at The University of Sheffield.

What better way of celebrating than viewing a YouTube video filmed in that luscious space...

The popularity of YoTube is immense and in a recent piece of research I found that this is the favourite website of 24/24 interviewees aged between 16 and 18 . What is the attraction ... well for the most part it is WATCHING videos and then talking about them on MySpace, Bebo or Facebook. It is a vital part of online conversation. Videos most watched are music videos ..' so you don't have to buy them' and 'funny videos' . they did tell me that they would love to make videos and upload and would like to learn how to do this in school....

Seems to me that just as on other social networking sites, people do stuff in order to upload to YouTube... not ust about recording stuffalready going on. Look at this bit of naughtiness as students trespass on the roof of the infamous Arts Tower.


Wednesday, 2 April 2008


This is not about New or Digital Literacies.

It is just a rant .... by way of a change.

Inspired by Karl bemoaning the attitudes of people on telephones.... he complains that despite changes in law about gay rights, attitudes of some people and organisations seem to lag behind.

I fancy having a moan about the phone call I had the other day:

Caller: Hello Can I speak to Claire Rosie please?

Me: Hi , Is that the Learning and Skills Council?

Caller: Yes. How did you know?

Me: because people from the LSC always call my daughter by that name. It’s not her name. It’s XXXX.

Caller: Oh I see. It’s XXXX? Is it? But we have Claire Rosie down here.

Me: Well I am afraid that’s not her name. It’s XXXX. Anyway I am afraid she is in bed asleep at the moment and so is unable to speak with you. Can you call after 4?

Caller: In bed? At this time?

Me: Yes That’s right. I am afraid she is unwell.

Caller: Well actually that is what I am concerned about.

Me: Oh really?

Caller: Yes I have unusual notes here saying that every time we ring someone says she is in bed. So I want to check what is going on.

Me: Yes, that’s right. Every time you ring she is in bed. I think it is me people usually speak to. I am afraid she is in bed as she is unwell. When people ring I usually suggest they call after 4 as she is usually resting until then.

Caller: Until 4 o clock? In bed? Really? Now? (Absolute Disbelief; consternation etc.) How can she always be in bed this late?

Me: Yes. That’s right. None of us are happy about it. But that is the way it is. She is in bed. She is ill. She has been ill for eleven years and we are not enjoying it. I am sorry it is inconveneient but this is the nature of her illness. We are not trying to trick you.

Caller: So you are trying to tell me she has been asleep for eleven years?? (Sarcastic. Incredulous. Calling me a liar type of voice).

Me: No I am not saying that. I am saying that she is in bed till late and I keep telling people from the LSC to ring after 4. The reason why you even know about her and have her name (wrongly) is that she is signed on to do an online course – which as it happens she has been too ill to complete.

Caller: Well when can we speak to her about the course?

Me: After 4 o clock. But hang on a minute. I think you are being unbelievably rude here. How dare you sarcastically say ‘ Has she been asleep for eleven years?’ You know she hasn’t. You know she is signed on for a course. Why are you speaking to me like this? Have you any idea how painful this conversation is? (Really flipping mad aty this point. Nearly crying as usual).

Caller: There is no need to take it the wrong way.

Me: I have not taken anything the wrong way. You have said the wrong thing and I have taken it the appropriate way. I have spotted that you are being rude and I am responding.

Caller: I am sorry you think I have been rude. You would not believe the people I have to deal with. I just need to know what is going on and I am sorry you have taken that wrongly.

Me: Etc blah blah …

You get the gist? This is what some (a very very few) people are like if they don't think your illness/disability is of the right kind.

maybe she should have read this:

a smile in action

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Unbearably good StreetArt

the loveliness of this idea as a piece of streetart by joshua allen harris... oh it is delicious....

(Thanks to the food of the future for this).
There is also this video which shows an hour in the life of a Banksy piece:

There is some doubt about the authenticity of the guy in this video ... and it's probably and April fool thing

Really loving the way these pieces spread round the web these days.

There's nothing like a good meme or a good piece of gossip.