Michael L. Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, was writing a paper about social networking and other interactive tools, which are collectively referred to as Web 2.0, when he decided to make use of the technology to spread his message. So he put together a short video with examples of Web 2.0 features, with a catchy soundtrack and rapid-fire editing, and uploaded it to YouTube, the popular video-sharing site.
Within just a few weeks, the video had been viewed more than two million times and had sparked commentary from around the world. In a way, the short clip proved its own argument — that Web 2.0 is linking people in new ways and changing the way ideas are exchanged.
This semester Mr. Wesch is leading a class of nine undergraduates deeper into the world of YouTube to conduct an ethnography of the online community.Return to Top