YouTube hysteria

Published 2:50 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is the age of technology and if you have not ventured into the realm of YouTube mania then you are still considered to be in the Jurassic age. If you haven’t been Rickrolled then you are behind in cool points. If you are the only person on the planet who has not watched Susan Boyle’s performance via YouTube, then you are not computer friendly.

Thanks to the Internet sensation of YouTube the world has been made a bit smaller.

If you are clueless, never heard of YouTube, then let me catch you up.

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What is YouTube? If you still have not acquired a computer and refuse to join the information highway generation then you will be limited in the knowledge of YouTube. If you haven’t e-mailed, blogged, Googled, or now Twittered, then this column will be informative but too advanced for you to understand.

YouTube began in 2005, three PayPal employees created the service for user-generated videos to be displayed, such as music videos, movie clips, amateur content driven videos, and whatever the world had to get off their chest using the visual art. Because of its popularity, Google bought it in 2006 and the rest is history.

There are rules to the video madness. Because anyone who registers as a member can upload their video instantly, the material is not scrutinized beforehand. Naughty individuals have abused the site. Isn’t that a shock? The site states videos can not contain pornography, nudity, defamation, harassment, commercial or material with criminal conduct. Rules are made to be broken.

There are places where only 18-year-olds and above can go but the last time I checked no one asked for my driver’s license. I could be six for all they know. That’s where parents need to be aware of what their under-aged children are doing on the Internet. Free reign is dangerous with the Internet.

YouTube has revealed secret horrors of our society as well. This past year the disturbing sight of young teenage girls beating up a female rival sent those same girls to jail. Is it more worrisome that they did the dirty deed or that they felt they could post it online?

It kind of reminds me of those stupid criminals that steal video cameras and tape their crime so that when the police confiscate their stuff they can be charged for extra stuff from the video evidence. Stupid is as stupid does.

In our reality show driven society, YouTube offers an opportunity for anyone to hop on the 15 minute fame bandwagon and though mostly the offerings are dribble, stupid, silly, and confusing, there are some gems.

Some of the most popular historical video clips have millions and millions of hits, (or have been shown for those who do not understand “hits.”) A few marvelous sights have been played across my own monitor… before my very own eyes.

One of the most popular YouTube clips is the “Evolution of Dance.” For those few who have not seen it… it’s worth grabbing someone’s laptop and viewing. Judson Laipply, a motivational speaker and comedian in “Inspirational Comedy” is the star of the video in which he performs the history of dance, beginning with Elvis’s Hound Dog and ending with Bye Bye Bye from N’Sync (boy band). In the middle of the performance he mimics Michael Jackson moves, MC Hammer and a variety of other iconic dance moves sure to make you laugh. It is amazing.

YouTube provides great wildlife viewing — besides the stuff on Bourbon Street that is. With all the professional photographers in Africa trying to capture great video, a tourist took one of the most amazing sequences of video that I have ever seen — and I watched all the 70’s nature shows! The clip is entitled “Battle at Kruger” and reveals lions and crocodiles attacking a herd of buffalo and the ending is fascinating.

Since you can search the site in categories, it makes viewing whatever you are interested in easy. Just like the phone book of old, you search out what you want to see. Tornadoes, you got it. Lightning, you got it. When the twins wanted to see snakes, I searched the YouTube library and was able to show them several clips of snakes, and then we ended up with puppies.

Need a good laugh, try laughing babies. Just try not to feel better, just try!

How powerful is YouTube? Our last Presidential campaign was influenced by the movement. One of the debates was handled via the YouTube service and the creation of the Obama Girl made all the news rounds. Reverend Wright’s clips were generated through the venue stirring up more controversy. Our president benefited from the wireless airways. Supporters of all sides make videos and add it to the river of other opinions. It’s very powerful.

Of course, anyone can put a video on the Internet via this service. My husband’s co-worker had their little daughter’s tooth pulling on YouTube and received lots of attention. They used the ol’ tooth and doorway method. Who would have thought to video that?

Should I get the baby’s birth video out? Ha, I don’t have a baby’s birth video! Or it might be online!

How popular is YouTube? In January of this year, nearly 79 million users watched 3 billion videos. That’s a powerful tool.

But beware of the online video trap because a little peek may lead you into an hours worth of your time or more. I searched Jim Carrey and began watching clip after clip of some of his old comedy routines. I watched Johnny Carson clips and old stuff that I did not know existed anymore.

Maybe I too should join the world and upload my life in short clips of videos for all to see. It’s like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” but scarier and without the bad dialog.

Some of my material from earlier years could have been how the twins decorated their wall and the unique form of paint they produced from their own bodies. Yuck.

I could have put my first son’s hair repair visit online as well. He had cut his hair so short in spots that he looked like a cancer patient. The hysterical laughter as the hair dresser was trying to fix his bald spots was priceless.

Number one son’s red lipstick colored face at two years old… priceless.

We all have those home movie moments we could share with the world.

The power of the Internet is growing and the use of YouTube is being wielded whether for the good of humanity or for the downfall. History will be the judge.

By the way, I feel a song coming on… just download it on YouTube under musical disasters.

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at her website: