"The Machine is Us/ing Us" from
Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University

This has to be about the most striking and polished explication/illustration/manifestation of Web 2.0 we’ve seen so far. And in very 2.0 fashion, it’s making significant waves and ripples in the blogosphere, generating discussion and picking up over 90,000 views so far.

If we trace a perfect circle, someone will follow and document the effects of this film and create a new film which in its turn will go out into the world. The meta-levels will make your head spin.

Michael Wesch, the K-State professor who led the "Machine" project, notes in a post on the Digital Ethnography blog that he’s "hooked on the idea of doing an ethnography of YouTube." Fascinating idea, Michael. Let me suggest a related side project: conduct an analysis of your film’s influence on the very 2.0 culture and phenomenon it documents. About a week ago, Will Richardson wondered half-flippantly if we need the emergence of a compelling work like "An Inconvenient Truth," something that will galvanize conversation and education policy. He didn’t say exactly what he thought that something would be. Maybe it looks like "The Machine is Us/ing Us."   

It suddenly feels like I’ve been talking and writing about Web 2.0 ad nauseum and am in danger of achieving dull-boy status. One last thought: It’s fascinating to me, even as I perpetrate yet another uninspired utterance of "Web 2.0" on the world, that we’re in the middle of a renaissance, trying to come up with the right way to describe it even as it’s happening. Self-organizing the experience, coming up with a shared definition, refining how we tag it. Given those circumstances, I suppose we should give ourselves leeway and embrace the messiness of it all.

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