Online video is defining an entire generation

With so much attention focused on things like business models / revenue, other ‘web 2.0’ technologies and a failing economy, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that online video continues to grow not just in consumption / usage, but also in cultural importance. A new ‘must-read’ study was recently released in Europe called ‘Video Republic’. It specifically focuses on the growing importance and transformative nature of online video and how an entire generation of youth is using this new medium to communicate, create, learn, entertain and connect with the world around them.

Cheap digital technology and broadband access have broken the moving-image monopoly held by production companies and broadcasters. In its place a new theatre of public information has emerged: a messy, alternative realm of video creation and exchange that extends across the internet, television, festivals and campaigns. This report charts the rise of the ‘Video Republic’ across Europe, a new space for debate and expression dominated by young people. Drawing on the extensive research with experts and young people in the UK, Turkey, Germany, Romania and Finland, it argues that the stakes are high, both for the contributors to this realm and for the democracies they live in. Confusion about regulation, copyright and privacy means that young people are plunging headlong into an uncertain set of new relationships online. And around Europe, new types of expressive inequality are emerging as many are held back from participating by poor access and a lack of resources. As young people experience greater freedoms online, many are choosing to ‘route around’ political and cultural institutions rather than take them on directly. This poses a profound challenge to decision-makers, but it also creates new opportunities. For democracies starved of legitimacy, it offers hope for a new sphere of democratic expression and participation. With a range of recommendations for government, media and the private sector, this report outlines how we can channel the creativity locked inside the Video Republic.

You can download the full .PDF version of this report: click here. This study was also featured in the The Guardian this week.

The report makes recommendations to help adults cope with the changing online environment, and calls particularly on schools to help youngsters understand the long-term implications of living their lives in a semi-public way. “Schools, universities and businesses should prepare young people for an era where CVs may well be obsolete, enabling them to manage their online reputation,” says the report. “This generation of young people are guineapigs … we need an educational response that extends beyond the focus of safety, towards broader questions of privacy and intellectual property.” It also suggests that creating video blogs and online diaries should be part of the school curriculum, used by schools in the same way that they organise museum trips or extra art classes.

via PR Studies