In Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, he shows a number of videos of people dancing and singing to the same song, Numa Numa. From all around the world, people belt it out into their webcams, “expressing joy” for others to see. He seems to suggest that these people are all connected and that they feel the need to participate and be a part of something bigger than themselves. He describes the uploaded videos as “a celebration of new and unimaginable possibility” and “a celebration of new forms of community.” I, on the other hand, feel that the exact opposite is occurring. These people are not wanting to be a part of a community, but on the contrary, want to stand out as a singular and unique individual. These people participate out of a need and a desire to be noticed. They perform for the Internet and expect something in return: their 10 minutes of fame. They do not want to fit in with a community, but instead want to stand out. This causes them to engage with the most ridiculous (sometimes dangerous) behaviour. However, their reasoning and motives aside, they are nonetheless participating.
Alec Couros also talks about a different form of Internet participation, also known as “Catfishing.” This is simply when an individual or group of individuals poses as someone else online, therefore misleading others for either, money, sympathy, attention, information, etc. Couros shares an example of how he himself was part of a “catfish”. His public photos were used by someone else to create a phony Facebook profile. These “catfishers” participate online as a means of exploiting. They use others’ identities, or made up identities, to engage with others and get them to participate online in a way that will benefit their own personal motives. As I highlight the negative forms of participation culture online, it is clear that weather one is looking to make their identity known/be recognized, or hide their identity altogether, this participation can be done with deceitful or selfish intentions. However, the classroom seems to be a place where the participation culture can be used for something positive.
Through technological participation, students are able to demonstrate their knowledge. Much like the Numa Numa singers, they seek to be noticed – but for they acquired knowledge. They are “showing off” what they have learned as a means of being assessed. This could be through the form of videos, songs, commercials, Kahoot quizzes, etc. Students engage and participate using technology as a means of demonstrating knowledge. This enhances the evidence of learning and makes assessment easier. This is where the participation culture positively affects an entire field: education. If we’re looking at the SAMR model, this culture easily lends itself to the “Redefinition” category.
In closing for this week, I’d like to research other positive and negative effects of the participation culture and will be watching the rest of Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. Until next week, web surfers.