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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Meta YouTube

I rather enjoyed this video for a new single from Weezer, "Pork and Beans:"

This might not make any sense if you haven't watched a lot of stuff on YouTube -- all the the people in it have become part of the YouTube consciousness by posting widely-watched videos that spawned spoofs, remixes, etc (including a Carleton student, Daft Hands guy!). This is brilliant marketing, leveraging the already-familiar to give viewers a connection to the song, and it's also very well-executed. (It appears that the director actually got a number of the YouTube celebs to participate in the video shoot, which is a lot easier than getting old-school celebrities to come to your video shoot.)

It works well that the song has an individuality-affirming theme to go along with all the individuality on screen. But I really like this video because it highlights how our pop culture is now wildly building upon itself, with individual works never existing in a vacuum, and authorship and remixing available to a much wider group of people than before. It's a lot more democratic and dynamic, and although there are some benefits to having a unifying mass media, overall this new order has a lot of advantages over what it replaces. Andrew recently linked to an essay on the possibilities of the new era of participatory culture that we're entering, and I think I'm also optimistic.

I recognized about 2/3 of the source videos, which may mean I need to spend more time outside. Valleywag helpfully lists a number of the videos referenced.

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