A few years ago, YouTube member MadV, who usually performs magic tricks wearing a mask, put up a short video showing a simple message scrawled on his hand. It read, "One World." Then he urged viewers to respond -- and respond they did, generating some 2,000 replies, making it the most responded-to video in YouTube's history. Next, MadV stitched together each of the replies, creating one "long, voiceless montage" that Wired called "quite powerful."
It was a uniquely YouTube piece of art. But what exactly was it? It wasn't a documentary, it wasn't a conversation, and it wasn't really a commentary, either. Whatever it was, Wired notes that it would have been inconceivable without the Internet and a site like YouTube.
"What's happening to video is like what happened to word processing." Video equipment and production used to be the province of a small handful of experts who could afford the equipment. Similarly, word processing equipment used to be prohibitively expensive until Apple made it drop-dead easy, sparking an explosion of micropublishers. You could also say the same thing about photo manipulation. The next phase of video's evolution to the mainstream will occur when we get even better tools for archiving and searching video.