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Archive for the ‘Media Circuit’ Category

YouTube began as a video sharing platform, but recently it has become more of a social networking site very similar to Facebook. It now offers a  personal profile page (which YouTube calls a “channel page“). This “channel page“, which allows “friending.” In the  article called Publicly Private and Privately Public:
Social Networking on YouTube
, author Patricia G. Lange
 has done research on Social Networking Systems. Her research has shown that the meanings of social network site practices and features differ across sites and individuals.

Specifically, this article  examines how video sharing can support social networks by facilitating socialization among dispersed friends. This article documents how youth and young adults use YouTube’s video sharing and commenting features to project identities that affiliate with particular social groups. We maintain social networks through a framework called “Media Circuit”.  But what is a media circuit?  Well, it is the use of media by members of a social group to stay connected or to interact with other members of the group constitutes a “media circuit” according to Lange. A media circuit is not a social network itself, but rather it supports social networks by facilitating and technically mediating social interactions among people within a network. We create a certain identity through our cultural background and how we portray things online, which in the ends leads to a social network in which we belong to.

Another part of how Youtube has created new identities because of it being a social networking system is that YouTube participants can broaden or limit physical access to their videos and thus create larger or smaller media circuits by using technical features such as limited “friends-only” viewing or strategic tagging. Viewers may locate videos using keywords or “tags” that video makers designate for their videos or write into the video’s title or description. Given the limited capabilities of YouTube’s search features at the time of this research, several interview participants reported that appropriate tagging, titling, and video descriptions were critical for finding relevant videos. According to Lange,vague or generic tags, such as “cats,” can yield a list of over 200,000 videos, which are difficult to sift through. Manipulation of video descriptions and tagging systems thus becomes crucial for video makers to regulate physical access to their videos. For example, one video maker used his YouTube name as his only tag. Unless one were a close enough friend to know this tag, it would be difficult to find his videos using the tagging system.

– Lyara Brine

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