YouTube Research Gazette

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.

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9 thoughts to “YouTube Research Gazette”

  1. Thanks for the blog props on YouTube and that Flow essay. I just wrote another blog entry on YouTube and political video related to the US presidential election (which raises the question of how other countries might be using viral videos, come to think of it).

    But I mention my entry simply to say, that I’ve begun following techPresident, a blog that is looking at the impact of YouTube on the election. Interesting stuff.

  2. Hi ,
    My name is Sonja Baumer and I am a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, engaged in the project “Informal learning of digital youth”, funded by MacArthur. My research focuses on informal learning and social development of American youth on YOuTube. I have published a paper in “Flow” on the relation of YouTube and mainstream media see I also maintain a blog where you can find short essays on YouTube. I have written several papers for conferences and journals which are still under review.
    I would also like to point to the work of Michael L. Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, who has done really interesting research.
    I would also mention that Henry Jenkins has written a paper on YouTube and published it in Higher Education Chronicle. He often discusses YouTube related issue frequently on his blog — see this post for example: .
    Thanks for doing this and I will keep you updated on my and or other people’s research on YouTube.

  3. thanks Sonja. As well as this project being a collaboration between QUT and Comparative Media Studies at MIT we (QUT) actually have links with the MIT new media literacies people as well, including Hentry, and so I did know about the various MacArthur-funded projects, but not about you specifically – so thanks.

  4. Hi – excellent resource. Interactive Director Rik Lander & I are just embarking on a small scale practice as research project making distributed online drama. What kind of storyworlds are possible in distributed environments. Will keep you posted. Jon Dovey Reader in Screen Media University of Bristol.

  5. Where are they? I think Janice Leung York University Canada is a lot of things. I think Jeff Scheible UCSB is a lot of things. Are they exactly the same?

  6. My name is Bethany Brunelle and I’m a Journalism and Public Communications major at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. I’m doing some research on how Muslims are portrayed on youtube, and would like some input on how you formulated your research regarding youtube.

    Thank you and have a wonderful day.

    Bethany B.

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