Friday, May 9, 2008
New For the 21st Century: The YouTube Moment
You remember just a few years ago people would see something endearing, adorable or humiliating and say; "That's a Kodak Moment." Well, it seems that we've tripped into a new age, where everyone with a cellular phone can take a video, often of questionable quality, of anything going on right in front of them and post it on YouTube, giving rise to 'The YouTube Moment'.
It's gone past pictures, past photo albums and completely around photo developing and the most amazing thing is that it's virtually free. Now you can take as many pictures or record as much video as your phone or inexpensive digital camera can carry and just upload it. YouTube, the most popular video hosting site, will make your video available to millions of users. This has proven an obvious truth: when you remove cost from the equation, you also remove taste. That's not true of all candid video on YouTube, but it's true of most. I'm not complaining, I find watching someone get whacked in the crotch by a T-Ball bat held by his five year old son as funny as the next guy even though I often pretend I'm above that kind of humor. The fact that everyone has video phones at the ready means that it could happen to you.
Imagine, you're just sitting there, minding your own business, a flock of birds fly overhead, you look up only to have one of them drop their cargo at the worst possible time. Someone happened to catch it on their cellphone camera and bam! It's on YouTube minutes later and going 'viral' spreading from one user to another, being sent around the globe. You're the famous 'Bird Crap Catcher.'
What's my point? Well, I think the digital revolution comes at a cost. Our privacy isn't at risk, it's under attack. If you're picture or video worthy, people are taking pictures and recording video of you unless you've found a nice secluded place in the mountains no where near the many resorts located in formerly secluded places in the mountains. There are other ways to hide, but I won't go through my list of hiding places because I'm afraid the next time I try to use one I'll find you there. I'm not paranoid, I'm just a private person, really.
YouTube has already been sued, so have their users for various violations of privacy and I think we're just at the beginning. There are new laws on this just waiting to be defined. Some will work for us and the preservation of our privacy, some will work against us. It'll be some time before the balance is found, possibly decades.
There's a brighter side to this as well, and it's important to remember that. There's nothing like typing a friend's name into Google and finding video of them falling down drunk or trying their hand as an amateur actor, or even being the victim of a practical joke. Some savvy couples have even posted wedding videos, baby's first steps, and other really legitimately touching moments that would be a lot harder to share if it weren't for something like YouTube. Those are YouTube moments, share them with your friends, their friends, and even post it on your blog. YouTube moments are made to be shared!