Lance Ulanoff is warning us about the dangers of YouTube and what he calls iVideoism:
iVideoism is the insatiable need to digest video of virtually any kind on the Web and elsewhere (except TV). Most sufferers will live on viral video sites like TagWorld, Google Video, and YouTube.
I thought for a moment he might be kidding but no, he appears to be in earnest. Lance thinks access to video on the net might be a social problem.
The inescapable truth is that the moving image will be everywhere, yet iVideots will soon lose any true connection with the live people moving all around them.
It’s puzzling. This "alienation" argument is precisely the one social critics used in the 20th century to warn us about TV. But they thought that TV would have this effect because it was dominated by a few channels, a few brands, and a lot of brainless advertising. The trouble with TV in the 1950s, they supposed, was that it was contained uniformity that must induce conformity from which alientation must surely follow.
Say what you will about YouTube, but the problem here is precisely not the stupefying powers of a mass medium. No, the reason YouTube is interesting is that it offers a fountain of invention from many thousands of people, pursuing a vast number of, some of them, deeply strange and cryptic projects. YouTube is a mad house of inventiveness. Regard the sprawling mess that is our culture.
That’s what you begin to wonder about social commentators. They have a very few "critical" cannons to roll out when called upon to reflect upon our world. It doesn’t matter whether the target is mass media or micro media, the answer is going to be the same. This is bound to be bad for us, not least because it will alienate us one from the other.
Isn’t this the most powerful argument for the emergent, unedited, unconstrained, unpoliced and unapproved nature of our culture. If we left it to the commentators, every innovation would look like a problem. Every innovation, TV and its opposite, would be forbidden us. Thank god we have intellectuals to protect us from ourselves. Thank god we don’t ever listen to them.
Lance, buddy, stow the warnings and break out the bubbly. Every member of the species would love to have the "problem" of too much choice. In the contemporary phrase with which we often honor the propulsive force of our culture, all of them like to be sipping from this fire house. This is what we look like. This is who we are.
Lance, Ulanoff. 2006. Are you an iVideot? Internet Video is sucking life out of our live world. PCMagazine. April 20, 2006. here.