Writing Values

February 10, 2012

If you were required to make a video for a class that would get the most hits in a small amount of time, what qualities would you strive for? “S**t Girls Say at Superbowl” won just such a contest with a paltry 1400+ hits (when my students did this four years ago they got to 100,000 because, we can agree, YouTube was smaller then and easier to game). This year’s winner was timely, funny-enough, pretty well done, meta to YouTube, and socially-networked:

When asked whether this video was also a “good” video for school, however, the class agreed it was not particularly. The values of school and YouTube are linked, and not, veering in several key areas, the most critical being:

  • message: a video for school needs to have one, and better yet, its ideas should be central, original, and critical
  • effort: trying hard and getting better counts in school
  • sociality: it needs to play well on YouTube and in an intimate, lived space (like a classroom) where people actually see and know each other and are responsible to each other as well as to the established interactive norms of school

Thus, my students in LFYT ’12 voted for “Puppies and Car Crashes” as the class video best suited for school work:

After this exercise, it was most interesting to me to note that all the values of a popular YouTube video identified by my students who were trying to win the contest (connections to corporate culture and music or to amateur authenticity, feats, humor, speed, craft [or not], attractive [or not] people, spreadibility, meta-ness) count equally for a good video for a class about YouTube if and only if these qualities themselves become the central message of the work (and beyond being meta, the video needs to analytical of these valuables), and better yet also become the form of the video, and if they keep the rules of classroom sociality in site (kindness, politeness, the building of dialogue, no ad hominem attacks, no gratuitous uses of sexuality, violence, racism, or cruetly) even as they attend to the odd reverse-norms of social-networked sociality.


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