While slowly uploading 3 years of email archives to gmail this afternoon, I spent a while poking about random video blogs following links from last week’s Epic-FU. While the content is amusing, it’s the fact that they even exist that really interests me – random people creating not only content, but regular shows, of quality at least the same as I’d expect from regional TV. It’s been said for some time that the internet facilitates a massive democratization of culture, but you don’t really get that as a gut feeling until you go out* and dig around.

It’s really quite heartening. There’s a real golden age going on – a huge diversity of people picking up tools, making some stuff, and changing the world. There’s a directness and apparent honesty to the content that’s really appealing. Even though a lot of it’s fairly low brow, that’s OK – it’s usually deliberate, and you don’t get the feeling that you’re being condescended to by a media conglomerate that’s decided you (as part of the great unwashed) are insufficiently intelligent or attentive. And that’s not to say that it’s typically low brow – there’s some really great, really thought provoking content out there, too..

Anyway, vector – Epic-Fu is a 5 minute weekly that covers pop internet culture. Episodes usually contain a mix of music, pop culture video links and notes about cool new web tools, as well as the occasional WTF? – one episode a couple of weeks back, for example, was interspersed with ‘FUnetics’, a Scientology spoof with a weird alternate reality web game attached to it.

Here’s the two videos that started me ranting..

Oddly compelling freestyle mouth music on the streets of America – from RocketBoom

DaxFlame – a deranged young man who seems somehow familiar.

One last thing – I stumbled across For Your Imagination somewhere this morning; it’s a startup aiming to provide production services to people wanting to run video casts of their own. This, too, is pretty heartening, and it’ll be interesting to see how this works – it seems to be focused on providing a service to creators rather than exploiting them as current media conglomerates do. Of course, what matters is how the service matures. Anyway, check out their demo reel on the site’s front page. Make sure you give it time to load, though – if the video isn’t fully downloaded, it just stops playing and goes back to the beginning.

* By ‘go out’, what I really mean is sit in front of your computer and click some of the buttons** you haven’t clicked before.
** By ‘click buttons’, what I really mean is click the button on your mouse while holding it in a particular place on your desk, following a sequence of similar actions that have placed your your mouse cursor over a particular shape on your screen***.
*** As a complete aside, the layers of abstraction in the words we use to describe our behaviour on the internet are totally fascinating, don’t you think? I wonder if you could judge depth of change by the average depth of indirections between the metaphors used to describe typical actions and the literal meaning of those words. Internet life is at least at depth three or four..


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