Tuesday, March 10, 2009

funk soul brother check it out now

How silly of me to forget an entire post, especially one devoted to someone who is in one way or another my 'soulmate.' It is spring after all- the season when a young man's something or another turns to cliches to overcome initial writer's block.

Somewhat ironically, it was a sunny afternoon that found me in the park, blogging outside for once when I happened upon Chris Punke, my social bookmarking soulmate whether he knows/likes it or not. From Des Moines, Iowa, with his industry listed as 'internet,' his bookmarks present an interest not only in the humanistic possibilities of youtube, but of the economic ramifications as well. I came upon his lonely Diigo profile (indeed, he only has one friend, but who am I to talk with a grand total of zero) quite simply by rifling through the endless list of people who have 'youtube' listed as one of their most prominent tags. While many 'suitors' had the youtube tag embedded in a maelstrom of 'web2.0googleinternetbloggingwordpresstwitter' and the like, the word shone bold and clear and larger than all the others in Chris' tag cloud. It was then I felt the chemistry between us.

Further examination of the tag cloud revealed that his interest in youtube and user-generated content at large lies largely in the emerging trend of viral marketing. His tags are fairly well organized around this issue of marketing, although any comments or annotations on any of the bookmarks underneath the tags are not to be found. Of 131 total shared bookmarks (he is apparently a generous guy too, as he has no private ones), 67 are tagged for youtube and 55 are tagged for 'marketing.' Examples of sites in the overlap include a page titled "Youtube Tries a Little Harder to Protect Copyright Holders" and the techcrunch post "The Secret Strategies Behind Many 'Viral' Videos."

The latter provides a uniquely cynical perspective on the phenomeon of 'viral' videos, with the author boldly claiming "There are tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube each day (I’ve heard estimates between 10-65,000 videos per day). I don’t care how “viral” you think your video is; no one is going to find it and no one is going to watch it." Videos with a puzzling number of hits are explained - "Chances are pretty good that this didn’t happen naturally, but rather that some company worked hard to make it happen – some company like mine." Judging by this particular bookmark and the overwhelming number of similar ones, it would appear that Chris has some form of vested interest in youtube as a marketing tool, yet sites like "Wisconsin based sub sandwich shop chain creates the first human flipbook video to promote it's restaurants" and "Google Earth Blog: New Youtube Layer in Google Earth" speak to a basic fascination with youtube.

Chris Punke provides a wide array of bookmarks on both the business and artistic ends of youtube, although he does appear admittedly more invested in the business side. As a resource for myself and my 'readers,' he provides a kind of balancing pole to maintain sanity in the face of an overwhelming wave of user-generated content, while retaining a love of the platform itself.

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