Sonja Baumer: Self Production and Social Feedback Through Online Video-Sharing on YouTube
8.16.07 | “Fatalshade” is a YouTube screen name for a 19-year-old college student who comes from a rural area and works occasionally on her family’s farm. I stumbled upon her YouTube video entitled “I am too sexy.” The video is a remix of the song “I am too sexy” by the British pop band “Right Said Fred” (1992) and a “grab” from “My Little Pony” DVD series.
My analysis illuminates self understandings that fatalshade gained through the process of video production and through feedback received from her audience. My findings indicate that by remixing the two texts: the “innocent” images of “my little ponies” with the “cool” song about sex, fatalshade engaged in creative appropriation, reshaping, and evaluation of those texts through their productive recombination and rearrangement. Ito (2006) emphasizes that through remixing practices users build personalized relationships to those contents. In these views, remixing is seen a way to actively and creatively consume media texts through production of new texts (Baumer, 2007; boyd, 2007). This creative process apparently have also stimulated fatalshade’s self-reflection:
“... I didn’t really make them with anything other than amusement in mind, I didn’t mean for there to be some deeper meaning in them, but I guess it sort of shows the conflict of growing up, of moving out of the childish things we’re used to into the adult world and all that there is in it… umm… they’re cute… and I’ve started collecting them again… though it feels really weird standing in the toy department dressed in mostly black and combat boots looking at ponies… there’s a certain amount of holding onto childhood about them, and just being amused by simple, somewhat pointless things…”
Fatalshade’s narrative contrasts her two identities, her current self “dressed in mostly black and combat boots” and her younger self, a girl who seeks amusement and comfort in playing with little ponies and simple things. Her description of how she feels while watching that video indicates that the video has enabled her to understand the complexity of growing up and confusion around the feelings and desires that teenagers often encounter. Although “started with nothing but amusement” in her mind, the process of video production and sharing has clearly helped fatalshade reach better self-understandings with respect to her feelings and mental states.
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