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YouTube is Big Fun And Useful

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Of all of the so-called "innovations" of high tech, I think YouTube deserves to be in the Top 10. Some folks, like the MAFIAA, see it only as a den of thieves, stealing the bread from their children's mouths. But to me it's a fantastic showcase for anyone with minimal tools-- a computer, a camera, a bit of editing software-- to create and share. Naturally the MAFIAA and their ilk can't stand the idea of not profiting from other people's work, but I think it's great stuff. I love the mis-heard lyric music videos, like Crazy Indian Video... Buffalaxed! and Have You Ever Seen Lorraine?. How else could you do something like that-- with puppets? Video tape? Super 8 movies? It's the modern version of "hey gang, let's put on a show!"

Naturally marketing persons see it as a golden opportunity to shove their wares in front of our eyeballs, and I think it's a good venue for that. Because we viewers have to opt-in-- if we don't want to watch something, they have no way to force us. So their videos better offer something of value, like entertainment and good information. You know, the two ingredients missing from most advertising.

Commercial radio has been virtually useless for many years now, save for some college and independent stations, and MTV and VH1 might as well drop all pretense and run nothing but commercials. YouTube has become my music encyclopedia; when I'm curious to hear what a particular artist sounds like, I can usually find them on YouTube. Note to the MAFIAA: wanna guess what happens next? As often as not I purchase some music CDs. Yes really! Not nasty little lossy MP3s, all crippled and shorn, not some worthless DRM format that no one in their right mind would touch, but real physical media.

The same goes for movies, comic acts, TV shows... I can usually find decent-sized snippets.

Even geeky stuff finds its way to YouTube: Webcasts, howtos, interviews-- all kinds of neat useful stuff. But I fear for the future-- I think YouTube flies under a lot of radars because the video and audio quality are pretty bad. But it's going to get better, and someday it will be good enough that the brainiac moguls of the entertainment industry will get serious about stomping it like a bug. Oh drat, I didn't mean to end on a pessimistic note-- OK, perhaps sanity will eventually prevail, and all of this craziness will stop. I can hope!


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