Deliberation on YouTube

Today when I search videos that about poverty issues, there is one that caught my eyes. It’s “Poverty in Africa-In Your Eyes” ,with 223,260 views and more than a thousand comments.   In fact, it’s a photo slide rather than a video. In addition, it’s not from the government or any other authorities.  At the beginning of it, there came up some words which exactly I often think about, then followed a number of heart-wrenching photos of people living in Africa. It displayed what bad conditions African people are in and then it invites some discussion. Some people showed sympathy like this comment, made by 1GautamaBuddha, “Please give a helping hand to the people that are less fortunate than you… ” and  “i kno that there are ppl starving everywhere but the foreign ppl(meaning the 3rd world countries) seem by far the worst and it’s just so sad. i think everyone who has money should contribute to all starving people anywhere no matter what race ” by amadahill1989. ”  They’re common responses to people those are living in such bad situation, because it’s hard to imagine or to think about that someone is worrying about what to eat while we are wishing for more luxuries. Then comes the discussion of the reason that why there are so many people still living in such poverty. Then someone brought up that they should stop having babies, there is no enough resources for the growing population. probably it’s one of the reasons, but is that the video talking about?

Another video with 121,522 views shows the similar content , with more verbal  instructions. There’s is a video response by NizamiShikhmarmmadov,still concentrating on the having babies thing.  Someone  even posted a comment recklessly like “Who Cares? Every one is Going to die one Day.”  Probably YouTube is more a place of entertaiment  than a serious one, no matter how serious the video’s content is. So people discussed birth-control a lot rather than the solution to the problem. There is also an interesting response like ” The African male is responsible for this. Every other race of men has done more to this end than the African male.” from ImaginedWriter. Is there anything to do with African men? Probably there is, but I don’t think it’s going to help to just blame someone. We are living on one planet, everyone should give a hand to those who need help.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Discussions on Youtube do seem to be subject to complete derailment at a moment’s notice. This is one of the real threats to it being considered a place where authentic deliberation can occur. It is difficult to have a serious discussion on, for example, world poverty when in between every comment that actually addresses the issue are 10 comments talking about the proposed influence of “X” race on the world.

    It’s a tricky situation to try to handle without heavy moderation. I honestly can’t think of a solution other than “take the (little) good with the (extensive) bad,” but that hardly seems ideal.


  2. Just like Hess said, there is a structural limitation on youtube that hinders people to start on any serious discussion on issues. But I found out that the combination and the display of those pictures can easily touched people because of the music, the verbal instructions, the order which they are played. This is in purpose to get influence on people, and its somehow a way of seeing others disaster with pity. I wounder, if one saw this on a magazine, would he/she have the same feeling as watching youtube?


  3. Poverty and Famine have been discussed for a long time. I think these are interesting for me. It seems that most of the developed countries are trying to fix this condition. I know there are some programs working on these two important subject, such as World Vision or WFP of UN FAO. I am not skeptical, but was wondering does there exist any End of these two horrible suffering? I hope there will be. But it just my hoping. After reviewing both your video, the comments have broken the perosnal perspective that I have kept for long time. I usually think that if the quility of videos on youtube are more delicate and the topics are more serious, it will bring more democratic and intelligent discourses among audiance. But so far, I think this is not exactly ture! And there is another thought. We wouldn’t see these hear-touching video everyday. Even if the video has raised out attention toward these subjects, there are few people who can hardly take actions.
    The media may effects people’s thoughts but not necessarily influence their behaviors.


  4. You have no reference to Hess’s article in your post. The assignment says: “Following the example set by Hess (particularly on pages 422-429 of his article), discuss the responses both to the video and to the comments. Is your case similar to Hess’s or different, and how?”


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