If I was teaching a class in logic, I would frequently use the Chronicle of Higher Education as a rich resource– of faulty logic. Hardly a day passes in the feed reader without some preaching headline that one cannot get from point A to B without a psychic leap of thinking.
Try this one on.
YouTube Better at Funny Cat Videos Than Educational Content, Professors Say
While many students turn to YouTube when looking for help with their homework, it can be hard to find good-quality educational clips there, according to two professors who did a preliminary analysis of several video search engines.
The research was typing the word “mitosis” into various video search sites, and analyzing the top 20 results. And thus, in finding not prime source materials, ergo, everything is Cat Videos.
Or, Because You Can Find Some Crap in a Large Pile, the Whole Pile Smells Like Crap.
“You go into YouTube and you put in “mitosis,” you’re going to get 3,000 videos back,” said Mr. Bell. “But no one looks at all of that. You’re only going to look at the top 10, so the ranking algorithm is really important.”
This feels like a sentiment repeated often enough that people assume its true. Sure, there is data on general search activity that many people dont go past the first few, but do we truly know that students seeking resources fall that short? If I have to learn something about mitosis, and I come up with 20 Funny Cat Videos, am I really going to shrug and say, “Oh well, better see the latest Lady Gaga vid?”
And even if this is the dominant search pattern, this “research” says nothing about the value of web video- it says more about the shortcomings of a shotgun search strategy- toss one key word and pull the slot machine lever.
Furthermore I can’t find anything to support the professors even mentioning Cat Videos (Actually, I cannot find much on them at all, no links in the Chron’s web page).
Let’s see…Jeffery Bell’s research expertise is “molecular mechanisms that control development of animals, the role that these molecular mechanisms have played in evolution, and the genetic diversity and structure of local animal populations” and Jim Bidlack has been working on “Weed Control in Pigeon Pea – Wheat Cropping Systems”. Apparently, this is the forefront of web search mechanics and informatics?
Two experts in biology looked at web videos for keywords in their discipline, and they found it wanting. Therefore, the only thing YouTube is Funny Cat Videos.
In their estimate, the researchers suggest student made videos are less valuable than ones their profs made– “perhaps because those videos attracted more comments than professionally made ones”. Or could it be the ones their professors made… suck?
The Chronicle laps up the opportunity to be perpetuating stupid stereotypes that support their downward peering viewpoint.
So besides Funny Cat Videos.. hmmm, what do we have?
Well there is the virally spinning Old Spice Guy, if you have been living in a media cave, this commercial turns the old whistling guy in the raincoat inside out
16,000,000 views and climbing, as a carefully planned and executed media campaign, it hits the modern message square on. I like its swagger. And.. hmmm, no funny cats.
But what people like old fuddies in the Chronicle Tower miss is that this is not just broadcast. It is a participatory media.
So there are parodies. And I would be that the Chronicle types would look down their noses and snipe how shallow it is to redo an existing piece. “There is no creativity nor originality any more, its just more Funny Cat Videos.”
There are many flavors of creativity, and if you look a little more carefully about many parodies, and what it takes to produce an effective one, its hardly flicking on the camera on Sweet Kitty and waiting for her to fall in the toilet.
Look into the eyes of New Spice: Study Like a Scholar, Scholar and tell me this is the equivalent of Funny Cat Videos:
The video celebrates a swagger in the Harold B. Lee Library… at Brigham Young State University. The team that produced it, two employees and a 10 student team, documented the behind the scenes in a blog (is there anything more perfect for a succinct web site than a free blog platform?).
The production quality here is on par with the original. Check out the production photos on that blog again. There had to have been an incredible amount of planning, coordination, editing, team effort to pull it off. No simple feat, No cat in sight.
Nothing but Funny Cat Videos, my arse, Chronicle.
The best thing about mocking the Chronicle is… they never respond. Unlike the rest of the internet when a company, product, brand is mentioned and people respond to a snarky blog post… The Chronicle stands aloof. They never wade into the comment sludge their posts generate. They in fact, do not get the participatory nature of the Second Web. It’s just pronouncement. They remain up in their towers, arms crossed, peering deep and far into the abyss we all live in… and cast their Funny Cat Video conclusions on the waves.
And besides… some of those cat videos are pretty damned funny. At least they make more logical sense the the writings at the Chronicle.