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Latest Topics

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The Significance of The “This is” Movement in Rap

It started in America with Childish Gambino’s “This is America” hit. It was a controversial music video saturated with modern issues for black Americans.

However now there are two other “This is” videos coming from Nigeria and Iraq. Let’s explore the significance of these three videos. The major theme that can be gathered from Gambino’s video is the way media attention diverts is from the truth. How does this theme carry over into these other videos?

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    The revival of Dungeons and Dragons due to Geek & Sundry's 'Critical Role' series.

    Dungeons and Dragons has been a long established franchise that has experienced noticeable rise and falls of popularity structured around changing cultural interests. With the mainstream appeal of fantasy films and "soft fantasy" programming on television there has been a slow interest arising around the old RPG paper and pen games. However, it was not until the occurrence of the show ‘Critical Role’ by Geek & Sundry, as streamed by Twitch, that a noticeable and traceable resurgence has occurred. The popularity of a show about watching voice actors play DnD live has lead to a release of new manuals, gaming equipment and surge of fan material. Is this the start of the mainstreaming of DnD?

    • This would make a great article. It might also be good to talk about Felicia Day and her contributions to geek culture; both before and after the creation of geek and sundry. Also the show Community lured a few people into the game. – AGMacdonald 1 year ago
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    • I've heard multiple sides to this. On the one hand, a fun hobby is regaining popularity. On the other hand, Critical Role and shows like it (Acquisitions Incorporated, for example) may give people the wrong idea, because not all games have a Game Master as skilled as Matthew Mercer, let alone a cast of that caliber (they're professional voice actors who have been doing this together for years). So a possible question is, should shows like Critical Role be the motivator for the mainstream resurgence of DnD? – noahspud 10 months ago
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    • I am interested in how you might prove Critical Role as the source of this resurgence, as I think you might need to look at cultural trends that come before the first episode of critical role even airs. The 2011 new york-times best seller Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and, even, the wild success of Felicia Day's own "The Guild," seems to be a strong indication that this resurgence touches on a significantly wider interest in the production of the fantasy world. Rather than asking is DnD now mainstream, I think I am more inerested in why is DnD mainstream: why are we once again interested in the creating the fantasy world? What about the world we live in now encourages us to be interested in this kind of table top gaming? – Dethlefs 10 months ago
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    Kids and Youtube

    It is interesting how nowadays technology has revolutionized the way children play. Children are engaging – more and more, day by day- in watching other children play on Youtube videos rather than playing with their own toys. Is it considerable that by doing this children become less social, do not excel well with hands-on learning, lack of imagination, develop motor skills slower than children who play with their own toys or play games non involving technology?

    • I think context is important - for example, people say the same thing about video games, but it was one of the only was I was social as a child. Looking at the reasons why a child might be spending a lot of time watching videos or how they interact with them would be important to note. – LoganG 4 months ago
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    • This is an interesting topic that ties in to larger conversations about the effect of an increase in voyeurism that has appeared through the proliferation of the internet and social media. On the surface, it doesn't seem too much different than a super keen football fan that never misses a game all season. However, this phenomenon seems particular to a younger demographic. I doubt there is much research that has examined this question, but perhaps there is some information on the psychological effects of compulsive reality TV or sports watching that could translate. On the surface, the answer to your question seems to intuitively be "yes" - but there may be other skills that they are developing through the act of watching and being involved in that community which may well be valued at some point in the future. Either way, a fascinating topic to explore that has links to all sorts of larger societal questions (so much so that it might almost need to be scoped down more!). – petethicke 4 months ago
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    Is being a youtuber a real job?

    Video production is a true full-time activity. Personally, I find that work as a youtuber is important because youtubers allow people to see the world from another angle, to reflect on topics and question themselves. However, a youtuber doesn’t always get a decent salary out of his or her freelance job. Does it mean they’re not working? How is this job different from being a actor, a writer or a painter?

    • I wonder if anyone could get any YouTubers to interview for this? Either ones who have given up traditional work, or any YouTubers just starting out. You can look at how far some of the YouTubers are willing to go in order to make that salary. – CatEllen 4 months ago
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    • Great, interesting topic! There are a number of philosophical questions behind your topic: What is a "real job"? What is meaningful "work"? What roles do various factors -- you make reference to salary and to social value, for example -- play in determining whether or not we see something as a "real job"? etc. – JamesBKelley 4 months ago
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    • A relevant topic to explore! Plenty of YouTubers usually have to accumulate a certain number of subscribers before they actually start getting paid. So maybe you could look into that process and search up some famous YouTubers and check out any videos they have created describing how they became successful on YouTube? You could also start by comparing and contrasting the differences between being an actor, writer or a painter and how these jobs are similar or different from being a YouTuber? – chloet2 4 months ago
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    • Could explore the difference between what people might see as a job or as a paid hobby. What are the objective definitions of 'job' and 'hobby'? It is subjective? Maybe some youtubers see it as a career where others see it as a pastime. It is necessary for someone to be paid to be working? I don't think so, but you could discuss it. How does money-making relate to making something a job? What different kinds of youtubers are there? (Yoga instructors, makeup artists, etc) What is the distinction between being a youtuber and using youtube as a platform for your career? – Carinci95 4 months ago
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    Getting Started as a YouTuber in 2018

    With social media being readily accessible in today’s age, it can be hard to stand out and have original ideas. Getting noticed is also getting more difficult, and creating consistent content can prove to be problematic.

    • I think this is a good conversation to have, but I would also suggest drawing in the framework of what has made successful youtube channels. – SaraiMW 4 months ago
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    • Hank Green, one of the forefathers of Modern YouTube, has admitted that he has no idea how to start a YouTube channel without going back to 2007-08, when the site was first picking up traction. This is one of my favorite things about the Internet in general: no one actually knows what they're doing. The popular people on YouTube hardly ever expected to become as popular as they did, except for the ones who were famous for something before starting a YouTube channel. There is no formula for success. But most of them have some form of advice; check out the vloggers' Q&A's, for starters. Best of luck to whoever takes on this article. – noahspud 4 months ago
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    • I think part of what makes this job fascinating is the freedom it gives you to be yourself and express your ideas. Because everyone is different and has his own experiences, each YouTube channel will have its own identity and its own audience. Some youtubers, I think here of SolangeTeParle, also chose to incarnate a fictive caracter and make a channel about him or her which gives room for so much imagination and creativity. – yara 4 months ago
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    Radical Acceptance in Podcasts

    Explore the ways in which interpersonal conflict is presented, explored, and addressed in popular podcasts like Judge John Hodgman (Maximum Fun) and Conversations with People Who Hate Me (Nightvale Presents). These are shows which address emotional, yet relatively minor disputes in a public, drama-free environment. What is it about podcasts like these that breeds frank honesty and polite empathy at the same time?

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      Published

      Has social media destroyed a our relationships or empowered them?

      Analyse the facets of human relationships.

      Do we know our friends or a version of them?
      We have the ability to connect with anyone at the end of our fingertips. Are we really connecting?
      Has social media given isolation an environment for community spirit?
      Are all social media platforms beneficial and if not what are the benefits and troublesome tendencies?

      • I know people who have met their best friends through a type of social media and completely had their lives changed by the relationship. I've connected with amazing and not to great people on multiple platforms and there's so many different views that I could see being looked at in this article. We live in a world where many of us 'live' online. I think all types of social medias would have benefits and negative points. Making new friends, business inquiries, cat fishing and bullying are a few I'd focus on. – TorriPaige 5 months ago
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      • Many people are skeptical about the "realness" of online relationships, but there's emerging evidence that those relationships can be more honest than face-to-face relationships. There's an interesting discussion at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1222447110?with-ds=yes: Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues John T. Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo, Gian C. Gonzaga, Elizabeth L. Ogburn and Tyler J. VanderWeele PNAS June 3, 2013. 201222447 From the abstract: "Results [from a survey using a nationally representative sample of 19,131 respondents who married between 2005 and 2012] indicate that more than one-third of marriages in America now begin on-line [that was back in 2013, so it's likely even higher now]. In addition, marriages that began on-line, when compared with those that began through traditional off-line venues, were slightly less likely to result in a marital break-up (separation or divorce) and were associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction among those respondents who remained married." – JamesBKelley 5 months ago
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      • There is definitely a dark side to online interactions, including trolling and doxing, but my thoughts keep returning to the positive. It's worth doing an internet search for: online dating and marriage There's a lot of information, including a number of studies from 2017, about the benefits of online beginnings of marriage: lower divorce rates, higher levels of satisfaction, greater opportunities to find spouses outside of traditional and limited social circles (e.g. increased opportunities for interracial and/or same-sex marriages and partnerships). – JamesBKelley 5 months ago
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      • Like personal interactions it depends on the person and the community of people they surround themselves in. – haileysolessmith 5 months ago
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      • We have friends whom we know personally, and probably have added them on our social media channels. However, people we add only because they have friends of our friends, now those are people we only know a certain version of them either through their profiles or chit chatting about them with others. In terms of connecting; we do connect with our close friends on an emotional and interpersonal level when we comment or post on each others' social media updates, or share photos of each other. What is posted can definitely cause any emotion in an individual, groups of individuals, and worldwide. However, if we are in the same room physically, and are browsing through social media feeds, THAT is when we are not connecting at all whatsoever. – Yvonne 5 months ago
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      "Going Viral": Internet Fame and Influence.

      For the past few years, the phrase ‘going viral’ has been shown, to a increasingly greater extent, to shape what we might see and hear in the media – for better, or worse. Snapchat stories, vines, Youtube videos, memes, etc. gain attention and become news, earning their ‘stars’ perhaps longer than five minutes of fame, and instead spawning television appearances, or merchandise, for example.

      How much is this a sign of the ongoing pace of what we consume as media on the internet, and how much of it can be controlled? Does this have any good, or detrimental effects (e.g. using examples, is there anything very good, or very bad, that has happened from a particular video/article/picture, going viral?)?

      • This is definitely a current, relevant topic that can be widely explored. Some good aspects would be viral causes that help a charitable organization or raise awareness of a certain issue, the 2014 ice bucket challenge to raise ALS awareness and funds for The ALS Association, for example. A downside that is slightly less specific is how the pressure to 'go viral' effects the quality of content that people and content creators churn out. As a writer who has looked into freelance opportunities, there is no shortage of online publications that demand writers who are able to produce 'attention-grabbing' articles with vague titles to pique the curiosity of bored internet users. The actually quality of the writing is secondary to the amount of clicks an article can attract. Sites are clogged with slideshow articles with clickbaity titles to bump up ad revenue. More of a comment on the decent of online writing content and journalism I suppose, but a topic that could be relevant while exploring the 'going viral' aspect of modern online culture. – Analot 6 months ago
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