The YouTube Revolution – PBS Off Book

PBS’ Off Book YouTube series latest video hits close to home and features what I consider the pionners in digital entertainment, how they use YouTube and engage directly with their audience to learn and grow. The big broadters are definitely watching this and most still don’t understand that YouTube is not like TV, it allow a two way conversation going that they don’t seem to get or comprehend.

Over the past 8 years, YouTube has given birth to an increasingly sophisticated entertainment culture that operates outside of the traditional television and film ecosystem. With humble roots in charismatic and creative people simply sharing their lives, thoughts, and humor to their webcams, YouTube entertainment has diversified and grown into tens of thousands of unique channels with millions of loyal fans and subscribers. With a new generation of viewers increasingly turning to YouTube instead of broadcast TV, a new industry is being built around personalities who have dissolved the barriers between on-screen talent and the audience, and who employ visual aesthetics that make the viewer feel as if they are a part of the creator’s life. Truly, we are in a new era of entertainment, one being led by millions of young people who are equally happy to watch video on their laptop as they are on their TV. 

The Creativity of Indie Video Games

Another great video from PBS’s Off Book YouTube channel, this time they look at the explosion of the indie video games scene.

“The video game industry is now bigger than Hollywood, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent developing these interactive experiences. But there are also small-scale developers working in the indie game realm, creating unique and experimental video games without the budgets of the larger “AAA” games. These indie game developers devote time, money, and take great risks in a quest to realize their creative vision. They deftly balance game mechanics & systems, sound & visuals, and an immersive storytelling experience to push the gaming medium into revolutionary new territory. Much like indie music or indie film, the indie gaming movement provides a creative outlet for game designers who want to work outside of the mainstream.”

BTW, Indie Game The Movie is now on NetFlix!

The Evolution of the 8-Bit Culture

I’m getting on in years, I’m getting ridiculously close to the big 4-0 and being a gamer since my youth I was knee-deep in the 8-bit era when it was the only way to play. Art is just like fashion, everything old is new again and I’m definitely appreciating the return of 8-bit into pop culture, be it art, music or even right back to its origin with the latest indie video games.

Beginning with early Atari and Nintendo video games, the 8-bit aesthetic has been a part of our culture for over 30 years. As it moved through the generations, 8-bit earned its independence from its video game roots. The idea of 8-bit now stands for a refreshing level of simplicity and minimalism, is capable of sonic and visual beauty, and points to the layer of technology that suffuses our modern lives. No longer just nostalgia art, contemporary 8-bit artists and chiptunes musicians have elevated the form to new levels of creativity and cultural reflection.

The Culture of Reddit

I’m still trying to get a grasp of the Reddit community and how it works. The reason its taken me so long is mainly because of my lack of time on it which is tough when you’re already spending way too much time on other social networks. All I know is that it seems like every funny picture/video/meme gets found or shared on Reddit first.

Since its creation in 2005, Reddit has grown into one of the most influential communities on the internet. More than just a content aggregator, it generates information and new content, and has given birth to intriguing collaborative projects that reflect a particular group character and value system. The Reddit community has become so active that it has had an impact on recent political events like SOPA/CISPA. And like any real-world community, it also has its share of internal social issues, forcing it to grapple with its commitment to free speech and the lawlessness of the internet.

PBS’s Off Book just published this great piece in which they talk with Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian and other Reddit editors to give us a quick history lesson on how things started and how the community has grown and works.