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The impact of YouTube on media production and distribution has been breakneck, immense, and seemingly irreversible. In this chapter I argue that media production professors need to embrace, and not to avoid YouTube, as if it was what the French calla stylo: a pen. To do so, we need to better understand YouTube and YouTube videos. I impart here some of the lessons I have learned from teaching an experimental course. Learning from YouTube, in which all the course work has been about, but also on, the site. These lessons illustrate the genres, contents, and styles of "video writing" that my students have developed to expand the reach of YouTube's more standard and banal content. The lessons also address how knowledge of the technologies, ownership, architecture, and customs of the site can allow for careful, considered, and self-referential student work to become a critical part of this unruly archive.


This chapter was originally published in The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, edited by Angharad N. Valdivia.



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