Thursday, March 20, 2008

Surviving the Visual Crash

I disagree with Virilio's vision of a visual crash. Under the assumption the YouTube is the most 'visually dense' media we currently have, the media which is mostly likely to have caused a 'visual crash', I will argue that such a 'crash' is not possible.

Given the enormous amounts of visual data on YouTube, one would certainly be inundated by images if he or she were to attempt to find anything useful in the 'ether' of YouTube. However, what has emerged in the large mass of information is a democratic system of value. What has happened is that no longer am I, the occasional user, presented with millions of stupid videos, but instead I am presented with only the most valued videos, whether by rating or sheer number of times watched. The key to this system working is that there are so many users that uninteresting videos quickly become hidden from the collective focus. This 'power in numbers' is the same enabling factor for Wikipedia. Because there are so many users, any mistake, no matter how small, is found quickly and reported or fixed. When so many users are presented with so much information, a democratic system of importance emerges and only the interesting information remains visible to the collective vision of the masses.

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