Many thanks to all the people who responded via email to my request for information about current YouTube research projects relevant to content and genre analysis. I still have a few more leads to chase up, but vaguely in the spirit of FLOSS (where the second “S” is for scholarship, not software), I thought I’d share a summary of the results so far. I hope none of the respondents minds – please let me know if you do and I’ll do a swift edit.
Just bear in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list – you’ll have to do your own strenuous legwork at Google and/or Google Scholar for that…
At the Infoscape Research Lab there is some serious data crunching going on behind the scenes, including some work on categorising content. There are already some preliminary reports on how the federal political parties in Canada and their supporters have been using YouTube for campaigning up on the website.
USC Annenberg Center Postdoctoral Fellow Patricia Lange has done a hefty amount of ethnographic work on YouTube, looking at issues such as “YouTube community, participation, and different responses to haters, especially in specific genres such as video blogging and youth production videos”. She has a conference paper on users’ understandings and responses to YouTube haters here (pdf).
There are quite a few theses in the works as well: Trine Bjorkmann Berry (University of Sussex) is some way through a doctoral thesis on vlogging, using an ethnographic approach informed by cultural and critical theory; Janice Leung (York University, Canada) is completing an MA thesis on YouTube and music fandom, specifically fan-produced concert videos and the performance of cultural capital; Jeff Scheible (UCSB) is beginning a project on Hurricane Katrina footage at YouTube; Dominic Yeo (social psychology, Cambridge) is doing a PhD on the psychological dimensions involved in user-generated videos in Web 2.0 environments.
At just about the same time as my request went out, Flow published a couple of articles about YouTube – one by Chuck Tyron on YouTube and Anti-War Street Theater and one by Alex Munt on the implications for Hollywood of YouTube’s “clip culture” and associated narrative model. Also published at Flow recently: Hector Amaya’s provocative piece on the ‘docublogging’ via YouTube of detention centres – Hutto’s Children: Maddening Structures of Absence.
And finally, a little bird tells me it might be a good idea to keep an eye on the Pew Internet & American Life Project for a report on online video over the next few weeks.
I know there must be more, or will be very soon, so feel free to let me know what I’m missing.
Speaking of YouTube, I have added a new entry about older people’s use of ‘playful technologies’ and informal learning over at Propagating Media.