*Here’s an article I wrote last semester for J302.
Video sharing has become commonplace in the digital universe. From Twitter to Facebook, videos from around the world can be seen and have found a place in pop culture.
Like most high school students, Tayler Fuata spends her free time surfing the Internet. One of her favorite things to do is watch videos that amuse and entertain. “Usually I stumble across stuff on Youtube says Fuata. Youtube, a video sharing network is a part of the many social networking sites that serve as a platform for viral videos.
From people pulling pranks to others doing song parodies, the web offers an array of videos that brings laughter, shock, disgust, and confusion to viewers. Nonetheless, video sharing has increased in popularity and has made a social impact on society.
Laughter is the best medicine to counteracting boredom and stress. So it should be no surprise that taking pleasure in another’s pain or embarrassment can be used as entertainment. Here, a prank known as “invisible rope” has lead to a slew of imitators and recreations. It usually involves two people on opposite sides playing some form of tug-of-war. Even so, this simple prank has become a source of amusement for all.
Funny videos from other websites like Funny Or Die, The Lonely Island, and Break, are just some of the many sites people can go to, to have a laugh. From skits featuring celebrities, to satires and people getting hurt on accident, they all amuse in their own way.
Videos taken by citizens have also made it possible for others to witness events around the world. For example, after the earthquake and tsunami that had occurred in Japan, many news networks were able to get footage taken by Japanese residents. This is just one of the many videos to show an eyewitness account of how terrifying it can be to be in such a predicament.
The story of Casey Heynes would have been obscured had it not been for a classmate filming an incident that showed Heynes being bullied and retaliating because of it. The viral video has made Heynes a hero in the eyes of many, for it shows him standing his ground and defending himself. Since then, both boys have been suspended and have had their sides of the story told by A Current Affair, an Australian news outlet.
And the ugly…
There are also videos online that have sparked controversy and have gained attention for all the wrong reasons. Case in point, a video has been circulating and shows a female college student giving a rant on the big Asian population on the UCLA campus. After the video went viral, it led to video responses by people expressing their feelings on the whole situation. Many people of Asian descent were offended by her remarks and took to Youtube to vent and address the issue. One included a video uploaded by a young man giving his opinion.
Black’s viral video “Friday” has spawned countless memes using quotes from her song.
What’s more, there has been a lot of attention following Rebecca Black and her auto-tuned song “Friday.” The song itself leaves listeners thinking, “Is this a joke?” At one point, the music video shows Black being approached by a car with her friends and contemplating where to sit, in the back or in the front, while it clearly shows that the front is taken.
*Youtube actually took the original music video down. However, here’s a mash up of Black’s song edited with footage from the movie “Friday.”
“It’s a really bad song,” Fuata says. “And it gets stuck in your head. There’s a part where she [Black] says the days of the week, it’s pretty funny.” The song may have the caliber of being in the company of song parodies, but because it wasn’t intended to be a joke, it just makes the song and music video awkward.
“Viral videos in general are fun to watch, but they can also shed light on events and issues that provoke strong feelings,” said Kim Nguyen, an education/history major at UH Manoa. Currently, Nguyen is teaching ninth-grade history at Waipahu High School as part of her internship. As a way for her to relate to her students, she implements multimedia and pop culture as teaching methods.
“In today’s society, the younger generation is very visual. So I try to use movies and videos as a means to generate feedback from the class and just to make them remember more, because they’re [students] able to retain information better that way,” said Nguyen. In return, Nguyen’s students have shown a better understanding of the topics she teaches through their writing. “The students are able to put two-and-two together and can explain thoroughly the cause and effect of an event.” Learning about World War II can be stressful to students, but with the use of multimedia in general, it can be beneficial to them and teachers. “I want them [students] to be able to comprehend the subject before we move on to the next, that way they’ll be able to connect the dots in history’s timeline,” Nguyen said.
Fuata also sees the use of multimedia as a good way to help students learn. “Reading textbooks can be boring, so having documentaries and movies shown in class helps me concentrate [on the subject] and learn more.” Current events that happened in Egypt, Libya and Japan have been topics of discussion in Fuata’s classes. So having her teachers show viral videos and news clips about what has occurred around the world has left an impression.
“It’s sad to see what’s going on overseas,” Fuata shares. “It makes me grateful for not being in that situation.” But to see the events from the perspective of a person who has witnessed it, makes her as well as others empathize and sympathize with the people affected.
In the era of digital technology, multimedia has made a profound impact on society by providing ways for regular folks to share and broadcast things/events that matter to them. In return, it has brought awareness to others and gives new perspectives on different issues. Going viral has enabled people to “show-and-tell” on a bigger scope, all the while giving the public something to talk about.