YouTube + PowerPoint = meta abstraction

The other day I had a user who was asking how come the library computers couldn’t insert a YouTube video into their PowerPoint presentation, even though their home computer could. How the… huh?

First, it turns out that it’s exceptionally simple to do and there are even YouTube videos showing you how to embed a YouTube video into PowerPoint. The issue with this user was that the preview function wasn’t working so it looked like the slide was blank even though the slide had the embedded file in it. As far as I can tell, there’s a problem with the permissions on student accounts that causes this problem. So, the workaround is to save the presentation onto a flash drive and view the presentation on a computer that doesn’t get the restrictive student permissions (one of the public computers, or one of the STF laptops, or a fellow student’s laptop will all work).

What’s funny to me is how ridiculous this whole idea is. A PowerPoint presentation (let’s call this a “PPP” from here on out) is already an abstraction of a presentation of a body of work; thus a meta-abstraction in itself. If you then take a YouTube video and insert it as a slide into your PPP aren’t you running the risk of some kind of abstraction within an abstraction or as my friend Suzanne puts it: like staring at your self in a series of mirrors. Where is the content??? Hidden somewhere behind all the layers?

This is a different phenomenon than the Chickens Chickens Chickens YouTube video (let’s call these YTV from now on) of a PPP. In that YTV, the PPP is the content and the YTV is the context. Even though that’s hard to make sense of, it actually makes sense to me.  YouTube is the context.  Ok.  Also, the message of the Chickens Chickens Chickens video (let’s call this CCCV from now on) is very simple (that there is a repetitive and pointless nature to certain PPP and the presenters who then just read what’s on the screen) and so a YTV of a PPP works very well.

What can we learn from all this self-referentialism and abstraction? Mainly that self-reference and abstraction are defining characteristics of American culture right now. Think about the mortgage crisis. What these banks did was abstract loans from their context in order to give them a different meaning (or value in the case of sub-prime loans). They then used the self-referential value of those loans to increase their on paper value and used the money to give their CEOs huge cash bonuses. As long as the stock prices were high “everyone was making money.”  Right?  RIGHT???

But see, in the CCCV the humor is completely lost on people who don’t attend those meetings. If you’re in the in-group it’s as funny as the guy who rickrolled an Eastern Washington University basketball game, videotaped himself, and posted it on YouTube is for that in-group. You don’t know what a rickroll is? Well, then it’s not a very funny YTV, is it? Why don’t you go tell some young people to get off your lawn, old man?

And what are blogs really? Just an abstraction of data that someone found on the internet. What about leet speak or text speak? Abstraction and self-referentialism, both. Vast swaths of American culture are segmenting into abstract, discreet groups who simply self-refer, or preferably: self-refer on each other’s abstractions. It seems to me like the less we create the more we are hailed as genius. Even most people in the so-called “make” movement don’t make anything, they re-make. In some cases, pointlessly re-making usable technology from obsolete ways of doing the stuff. Does the world need a steam powered carriage?

A point, here it is: all of this has no place in academia. Academia is supposed to be the place where knowledge is created, not abstracted. But I almost think the academicians are the ones who started all this. They love to quote themselves in their own papers and sometimes they have to, because they are the only recognized experts on the subject. Academics are also notoriously self-referential, but ostensibly they should always be doing so in the context of knowledge creation. So, while my inclination is to blame them for starting all this, I have to give the academics a pass.  But they stated it, and I think people think it’s smart or clever to abstract and self reference.  “After all,” they think, “that’s what the people in the ivory tower do!”

But embedding a YTV in a PPP seems to me to be the complete opposite of academia: especially since it wasn’t even their video to start with.  Embedding a YTV in a PPP is the academic equivalent of quoting Cliff’s Notes.   I honestly hope their instructor gave them a talking to about sources, research, and the point of academia.

Anyway, that’s enough ranting about the youngsters these days… Oh, are you curious how to make a PPP with a YTV embedded in it? Here’s my PPP on the topic: meta.

Oh and if you clicked on the Rickroll link, you’ve just been meta-rickrolled. LOL!!!one1!11!! Timmy Wins The Thread!!eleventy!!1one!


1 Comment

Filed under Technology Pulse

One response to “YouTube + PowerPoint = meta abstraction

  1. Pingback: tube universe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s