The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Nico Nico Douga

My mind is being blown in real-time.

Nico Nico Douga is sort of a Japanese YouTube, except it has a weird extra feature: You can write comments in real-time over the video. Hard to imagine; easier to see. Just watch the second video on this page (the one after the YouTube video) for a second.

Weird/cool, right?

Even better, a Goldsmiths team is dissecting and explaining the crazy characteristics of the Nico Nico Douga community in blog form. Insanely high-brow meta-theoretic blog form.

Why is this interesting? Two reasons:

  1. Video is still so immature, and still changing so fast. Kevin Kelly thinks text is actually a big part of its future — a sort of reunion of long-estranged formats, thanks mostly to computers and high-resolution screens. I agree, and Nico Nico Douga is a (spastic) data point in that direction.
  2. The web is so not a global village. It’s totally compartmentalized by region and, especially, by language. So it’s cool to get a guided tour of something that would otherwise be incomprehensible or, worse, invisible.

I still have no idea what to make of this site. I’m almost afraid to click around. Any thoughts/reactions?

(Via the wax.)

Update: Great Wired article on the site’s founder.


My first thoughts was: so it’s like Viddler? But it’s different because your text actually looks more a part of the video. I’m not sure I think that’s better.

As the “GAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!” that scrolls across in the video you directed us to makes clear, the form may be as much a victim as childishness as YouTube’s current comment system.

The real question I find myself asking is why? Why are these words moving over the video at all. Unlike Viddler–where the notes can serve as a useful way to “skim” the contents of a video, I’m not sure what purpose at all these serve.

There’s something interesting about your comment actually changing the video in a public way. You’re not just layering on second-class information; you’re modifying the first-class object, the video, for all to see.

On the most basic graphic & aesthetic level, I like the look of the text scrolling anarchically across the screen — it’s just interesting-looking.

Maybe that’s just b/c it’s in Japanese, though. If it was English, I’d realize how banal the comments were, and totally hate it 🙂

I’m submitting a paper for the Northeast MLA conference, for a panel on text and video. I’m presenting on early sound film, but I might throw NND a shout-out.

An example of what I mean.

M is a visually stunning, beautifully written and acted film, with great ideas and a great story. And it uses sound to great dramatic effect. But just watching the trailer, you see how often the film asks its viewers to read (or at least offers them the chance to read) photographed text that appears on the screen. Lang’s characters read constantly, and the plot hinges on all sorts of acts of reading and writing.

An audience conditioned to read and watch simultaneously/alternately can make this sort of plot possible — which is partly why art-house audiences used to subtitles still love M. If anything, we’ve gotten less literate when it comes to video, even if we take more of the “language” of video/film for granted.

There’s also this:

I’m friends with the site’s founder, and I recently talked to him about that Wired article on Nico Nico Douga. He thinks there are small cultural differences that led him to create a variation that’s more Americanized. You can judged for yourself if it works….

There’s something about the text slapped directly onto the video that appeals to me — as opposed to displayed as polite little chunks that you must choose to reveal. But I have to admit that’s way more about ridiculous over-the-top comic-book aesthetics than it is abt usability. Iminlikewithyou’s implementation is slick.

Oh P.S. Tim, that Fritz Lang clip is CRAZY.

I had this idea to start a videoblog with subtitles. Like, in English… just with subtitles. Nice big, yellow Helvetica subtitles.

There’s something about words on screen that shifts your brain into a different mode.

M is so, so good. Get a chance to see it if you haven’t already, and if you have, watch it again.

You also have to love that sort of expressionist-punk font on the title card: “Ein Fritz Lang Film.” Take that, bitches!

One recent comedy video that I really like gets just a little extra punch from including French subtitles. The premise completely switches from an ordinary sketch to (potentially) footage from a French/Canadian documentary.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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