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Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, 8:50 pm

YouTube Versus Television

TECHNOLOGY moves on and one must adapt to it. “Luddite” a word that is often used to discourage those who deviate from the norm, such as those who refuse to carry a mobile phone everywhere they go.The term Luddite in this case refers not necessarily to rejection of progress but to conformity of lack thereof.

Television is a generic term which refers to a device for remote viewing of something. Conventionally, however, we think of television as a set although some large bits of furniture or even projectors might nowadays qualify as televisions. What is common in almost all of them is that, with the exception of streaming or on-demand viewing, television is controlled by broadcasters, who have a lot of control over the viewer’s mind many hours of each day. The viewer can typically select the least undesirable channel among a finite number. Just because there are many channels these days does not mean one can watch a lot of them at once (simultaneously), so this limitation remains. The choice is elusive.

YouTube is different for several reasons as by its nature it allows anyone to broadcast and it also gives the viewer a lot more control over what is being watched. This is why I stopped watching television and eventually gave my set to a friend. The set was of no use anymore. It felt more like a device for passing commercials and clips that I did not wish to see. Sure, there were exceptions, but those were very rare. To choose a channel is still an illusion of choice as that hardly leaves much selection in the hands of the viewer. The choices are preselected by other people.

Recently I started to get more actively involved in YouTube not as a mere viewer. Back when YouTube presented statistics on how many videos a given account has watched the number 22,000 came up and since then I have watched probably about 50,000 videos on YouTube. So I pine to become part of those who contribute. In the coming weeks I will convert some older material and upload it to YouTube. It may be an interesting experience. Can a viewer engage in a two-way exchange of information? That certainly would be beneficial to society as it can weaken the power of media empires over people’s minds. It can also help promote the TechBytes show to people who never heard about it. At the very least as an experiment I shall see how it goes. This might be rethought.

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