Monday, January 28, 2013

Gender and the Internet

Society is tougher on women than it is on men, and the Internet doesn't offer a much-improved environment. For a long time, the internet had the stereotype of being full of men. A large portion of notorious online communities still maintain a male-heavy user base, and internet-savvy women will receive constant reminders about this.  For a very long time, it was a prevalent joke among online circles that there were "no girls on the internet". If a girl was to make her gender known in many of these same online circles, then other users would accuse her of lying. That, or post pictures of herself. Overall, this was not the most encouraging environment.

The internet has changed drastically since the days that these attitudes first came to exist. However, with the scope of the current internet and its many communities, it's difficult to pinpoint a general attitude towards the question of gender. The modern internet user is constantly bombarded with information, and it's easy to run into conflicting (and sometimes contradictory) indicators of the modern demographics and attitudes.

Let's try to sort through this issue. First, where do men and women hang out on the internet?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The YouTube Frontier: The Future of YouTube

This is the third article on a series on Youtube! You can read part 1 and part 2 by clicking their respective links.

Though we mentioned it in the first installment of this article series, let's talk about Gangnam Style again.

The story of Gangnam Style is one that encapsulates all of Youtube's phases of development. It was a music video that could only exist on YouTube thanks to the website's business model. It "went viral" and gained massive notoriety worldwide. Taking the #1 most viewed spot on YouTube along with hitting the billion-views mark, Psy went on to star in - and heavily theme - Youtube's year in review 2012, alongside YouTube's other significant traffic-contributors.

YouTube has found a way to reconcile its free platform with the old media industries, and has earned its niche in online entertainment. Concerns about the website's sustainability seem to be decisively gone. The question, however, is what the website may become.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Youtube Frontier: The New Culture of YouTube

This is the 2nd article of a series on YouTube! Click here to see the first.

"Going viral" is no longer a foreign concept. It's a swiss army knife of brand promotion, mass entertainment, and individuals getting their 15 minutes of fame. The YouTube employees are aware of the viral videos on their website - they probably watch them just as we do. At the end of 2011, the website released a video highlighting all of the online trends from the previous year:

And, they did it again in 2012:

If you haven't watched these before, then take the time now to do so. You'll notice a very marked difference in presentation style between 2011's compilation video and 2012's. One that marks an important shift for YouTube.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Youtube Frontier: The Business of Youtube

The music video "Gangnam Style" by Korean artist Psy was the first YouTube video to hit a billion views. This video started accumulating views in July of 2012, and hit the billion-view mark in December of 2012. The video now maintains several hundred million views more than the next-most viewed video on the website.

However, it was as recently as 2008 that the title of "Most Viewed Youtube Video" could be acquired with fewer than 100 million views. Judson Laipply's "Evolution of Dance" held the title until that particular year, when Avril Lavigne's single "Girlfriend" finally topped the Youtube charts. The view count for each of them at the time hovered around 89 million views. Though her music video did eventually exceed 100 million views later that year, it took the #1 spot with a view count below this number.

2008 wasn't some prehistoric time for the internet, either. Facebook was already on the digital stage, hitting 100 million active users in that year and riding high rates of growth. It was an election year, and Barack Obama was using the internet in ways previously unseen in presidential campaigns. This was even after 2girls1cup - and the many reaction videos to it - had reached its height of infamy.

Clearly, there's been some inflation in Youtube's popularity since those days. With the next few blog posts, I'd like to walk us through an analysis of YouTube's role in entertainment culture.