In the symposium a couple of weeks back there was mention of the video essay and how it’s not yet an academically acknowledged format. This immediately made me think about the video essays that exist as part of popular culture.
Regularly I watch several YouTube channels that don’t consider themselves, nor – to my knowledge – are called Essays. This includes channels such as Vsauce, PBS Idea Channel , CGP Grey , the plethora of TED channels, Minute Earth, Minute Physics , and that’s not including the hundreds perhaps thousands of others that exist out there that I don’t personally view.
I wonder why this is so, and my first assumption would be the sloth like system of academia and the slow uptake of new technology, processes, and reliance of classic formats. I immediately considered however, should this kind of essay be expected to be included in the academic world? I mean it would be, eventually, I expect given that the videos provide thoughtful and logical discussion as the internet continues to grow, but with the speed at which information flows and evolves within the global network will academia even be able to keep up?
I expect it would have to redesign it’s regulations or whatever they do to call something ‘academic’ to do so, but even right now any piece of information is available via the internet which is inhabited by students and experts alike who are more than willing to share their ideas without hesitation. Just take a look at reddit with it’s numerous sub-reddit communities based on asking questions to experts (/r/askhistorians, /r/personalfinance etc.). Even Wikipedia which is relied on every single day by them asses to validate information without a second thought as to it’s source, could I dare say that academia in the traditional sense – writing, reviewing, publishing, updating – will eventually become defunct?