Monday, March 9, 2009

sources and annotations - slightly out of order/context

Rather than do them the sensible way, two at a time when they are due, I decided to purposefully build suspense and unleash them all in an annotative torrent that will blow your mind, my dearest imaginary readers. Ta-da.

"Beyond the Box: Television and the Internet" - Sharon Marie Ross, Blackwell Publishing 2008

Author Sharon Marie Ross probes how the development of the internet has altered the production and consumption of television. The perspective offered focuses largely on the shift in audience experience, using as examples the online voting practices of "American Idol" and the youtube discourse following the lineup of Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" and the popular series "Lost." Illuminating the trend that Americans no longer merely watch tv, but rather participate in, lobby for, respond and relate through a number of online media, her thesis declares that what was once the domain of cult fanatics (using the fans of "Star Trek" and "Xena Warrior Princess" as examples) has entered the mainstream through various forms of online media, youtube among them. While her discussion of viral video is limited, the examination of online viewing practices at large provides valuable perspective on youtube as a phenomenon.

"Evaluating viral marketing: isolating the key criteria" - Danilo Cruz and Chris Fill, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol 26 Iss. 7

Authors Danilo Cruz and Chris Fill report on various forms of research undertaken to determine the key criteria that viral marketing practitioners believe should be used to measure the success of viral marketing campaigns, as there is little current evidence of efforts to measure their effectiveness. Using semi-structured interviews with some of the UK's premier web masters, Cruz and Fill identify two forms of viral marketing - "random" and "placed" virals, and within these present a fairly thorough viral marketing evaluation framework. Pertinence to the phenomenon of viral video is apparent in their examination of the "random" virals - videos that exist seemingly without any pretense of its status as an advertisement. Various cases of unsuccessful random virals and the resulting backlash from the youtube and general online communities provide a unique statistical backdrop for media experiences of the average youtube user.

"Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing" - Rick Ferguson, The Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 25 Iss 3

Author Rick Ferguson studies examples the emerging marketing trends of word-of-mouth and viral marketing in an attempt to determine their measurability in terms of 'return on investment.' The study examines campaigns from well known companies, raising the question of how much of an actionable response can be evoked and measured from these campaigns, ultimately concluding that even the best efforts at viral marketing are 'not always a sure bet,' although well-placed and calculated campaigns sometimes have an intangible ability to spark a firestorm of 'brand awareness.' Ferguson details how viral marketing should not anchor an overall marketing strategy, but rather be used as a form of 'ace up the sleeve' in an effective, calculated campaign. His conclusion that there is no definite model for a return on investment for a viral campaign speaks to the inexplicable, unfolding nature of youtube and viral video as a humanistic, collective medium.

"YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts" - Alan Lastufka and Michael Dean, O'Reilly Media, 2008

Authors Alan Lastufka and Michael Dean detail the steps neccessary to produce media for online consumption and the methods to increase potential audience, speaking from their perspective as veteran youtubers - Lastufka especially, who has upwards of 10,000 youtube subscribers and millions of views. Through informative interviews with such youtube stars as LisaNova, Hank Green (vlogbrothers), WhatTheBuckShow, nalts, and liamkylesullivan, Dean and Lastufka emphasize networking and interaction - key components for success in the youtube community. Careful to point out that there is no definitive manner in which to attain fame and notoriety, Dean and Lastufka also detail the finer points of video optimization, endcoding, uploading and promotion. While the scholarly attributes of the book are few, the portrait of hypothetical successful youtube channels and examples from their concrete successes allow for academic insight into the humanistic 'level playing field' that youtube and online video present.

"Fair Use, Film, and the Advantages of Internet Distribution" - Cinema Journal, Vol 46 Iss 2

Author Fred Von Lohmann details that by uploading a film to any of the hundreds of websites catering to user generated video (specifying youtube and yahoo video as ideal examples) a filmmaker can reach a global audience without having to satisfy the rights clearance requirements imposed by 'traditional gatekeepers' of the film world. Von Lohmann goes on to explain that filmmakers who desire an even greater level of control over their 'online destiny' can opt to make their films available directly from their own computers, purchasing bandwidth directly from an ISP. Similar to video hosting services like youtube and yahoo video, an ISP that provides internet connectivity to their subscribers are protected by a DMCA safe harbor from having to pay monetary damages in copyright lawsuits, a pressing issue for the platform of online video. Von Lohmann's analysis of traditional 'fair use' laws in a new era of web distribution illuminates the possibility that user generated video sites have irreparably altered traditional views of copyright - an issue highly pertinent to the inherent trends of self-marketing and viral distribution.

"YouTube: The Flattening of Politics" - Steve Grove, Nieman Reports, Vol 62 Iss 2

Author Steve Grove examines the media ecosystem of the 2008 election cycle, one in which candidates and voters spoke directly to one another in an unfiltered manner. Detailing news organizations' use of the internet to connect with and leverage their audience, Grove emphasizes the fact that in this latest election, activists, issue groups, voters and the campaigns themselves all advocate, discuss, and gain knowledge of issues on the same unprecedented 'level platform' offered by youtube and other online video sites. By offering new opportunities and challenges alike, Grove concludes that youtube has irrevocably reshaped political coverage. Grove's thorough examination of the many facets of political coverage on youtube present a compelling argument for the sheer social weight (a trait we are only beginning to comprehend) youtube carries as a collective, social medium.

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