Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Meet the creator of this viral video

Bear with me. First, here is the hypertext video that has been posted everywhere. My point in showing it here is just in case you missed it, but also, to then link to an interview with its creator, a cultural anthropologist talking about what it means.

Now, here is an intriguing interview with the maker, Michael Wesch from Kansas State University. He was interviewed by John Battelle on Searchblog: Thoughts on the intersection of search, media, technology and more.
A taste of Wesch's thinking:
For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected. ... As I tried to illustrate in the video, this means that a change in one area (such as the way we communicate) can have a profound effect on everything else, including family, love, and our sense of being itself.

For me, the ultimate promise of digital technology is that it might enable us to truly see one another once again and all the ways we are interconnected. It might help us create a truly global view that can spark the kind of empathy we need to create a better world for all of humankind. I’m not being overly utopian and naively saying that the Web will make this happen. In fact, if we don’t understand our digital technology and its effects, it can actually make humans and human needs even more invisible than ever before. But the technology also creates a remarkable opportunity for us to make a profound difference in the world.

The good professor has had some commentary at his Web site, and you can comment too. He expects to keep working on this. As of 2.21.2007, it had some 1,310,565 views on YouTube. He's obviously speaking to us.