Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ching chong, Alexandra Wallace, you did digital wrong.

Many of you are probably familiar with the recent controversy regarding former UCLA junior Alexandra Wallace, who posted a racist video on YouTube about Asians at UCLA. Shortly after Wallace posted the video, it went viral and elicited a violent reaction from UCLA's student body- particularly the Asian population, which encompasses 37% of the school's undergraduate population.





Wallace resigned from UCLA days later after being bombarded with harassment and even death threats from peers. Here are a few of my favorite video responses that streamed in after the video was posted:

"I'd like to get something off my chest, rather than in my chest..."


This guy actually attempts to respond to her argument rather than merely mocking her:


And finally, my personal favorite... rather than responding with more hatred, this guy countered her argument with a hilarious parody:


Last night in my digital textuality class, we reviewed these videos at length and discussed how the change from analog to digital allowed for something like this to happen. Some of the explanations are obvious- with digital file sharing, Wallace was able to distribute her video exponentially, when before she would have had to manually reproduce each video and send it to 1,000,000 + recipients to elicit the same kind of response. The speed and uncontrollable nature of dissemination are also a result of digital file sharing.

I personally believe the most significant implication resulting from digital file sharing is that the consequences were most likely unintended. Let's face it, Wallace is no rocket scientist. In fact, watching her rant makes you question the admission standards at UCLA. It is likely that she was not cognizant of the viral nature of YouTube videos, and did not anticipate her video would be picked up by more people than she personally shared it with. Digital file sharing causes you to lose control of how you share your content, and puts it completely in the hands of the online community. Unfortunately for Wallace, once she uploaded her rant to YouTube, she no longer really had any ownership of it. Bet she wishes she could take that one back...

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