YouTube Research Project – Final Video: Teme Work: Spreadability and Viral Video on YouTube

This is my final YouTube video on my research topic Viral Media and Memes.

The title of the video is “Teme Work: Spreadability and Viral Video on YouTube”.


For my YouTube research project I chose to look into the topic of online viral video and ‘memes’, focusing on Participatory Culture within YouTube and how online viral media plays a part in this.
The media and the web have developed such that content is readily available and accessible on-demand. We as media audiences have become media producers, with a shift of power between us the consumers and the professional media industries.
Web 2.0 has made the way for amateur user generated content, particularly in the form of video, to be uploaded and shared across the web with others, creating online participation, collaboration, and a sense of community and connectedness amongst the web’s vast number of users.
Before the Internet and the web, information and ideas were spread by more traditional means such as word of mouth, print, radio and TV. The Internet and the web have become an invaluable outlet for new cultures and new ideas to be born and spread rapidly and in great quantities, becoming ‘viral’, becoming ‘memes’.
Viral media and ‘memes’ are spread throughout the web with the use of social networking sites, email lists, forums, blogs, and in the case of video content, by use of video sharing sites such as YouTube. They are usually of a comedic nature, which makes them so popular as to be considered ‘viral’.
A ‘meme’ is defined as an idea that is spread from person to person through the act of imitation. The term comes from the Greek word ‘mimeme’, meaning ‘something imitated’, or ‘that which is imitated’. Memes are anything that can be spread and copied – words, phrases, clothing, images, videos.
The term ‘meme’ was first coined by Richard Dawkins in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’, published in 1976. He used the term to describe an entity that might be considered a replicator, that is, something that gets copied through the process of self-replication. More specifically, he used it to explain human behaviour and cultural evolution.
Susan Blackmore also adopts this way of thinking. She suggests that we as humans are ‘Meme Machines’, that we are used as ‘hosts’ for infectious cultural ideas to latch on to in order to replicate. She coins a new term, ‘Temes’, for memes created and spread by the use of technology, such as online video memes.
Henry Jenkins believes that ideas and information are not infectious viral objects as Susan Blackmore suggests, he claims that media is not ‘viral’, but is ‘spreadable’, that materials travel through the web because they are meaningful to those who spread them.
In his blog, ‘Confessions Of An Aca-Fan’, Jenkin’s suggests that ‘memes’ do not self replicate, and that people are not susceptible hosts for viral media. I believe this is a more reasonable approach to the subject, as users of YouTube typically post videos to share with others and to participate and engage in the online video community with other users. Users of YouTube uses video memes to share and spread, imitate and re-upload, remix and parody, often to create new spreadable memes.


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