Tuesday, May 01, 2007


One of the most discussed channels on YouTube is by an individual called Daxflame. While there's an ongoing debate as to whether this individual is "real" or an actor, Daxflame is ostensibly a fifteen year old, excitable, socially inept high school student. His apparent view of the world has been described by his viewers as somewhat autistic, while others claim he appears to have Asperger Syndrome, which exhibits some of the same symptoms. Still others, on the basis of the angst-ridden world he relates in each video, are convinced that no acutal person can be living his soap opera., and that he must be a talented actor. All agree, based on the comments left, that his videos are funny, entertaining, and lots of fun. With well over one million total views and over 18,000 subscribers, he's one of the Stars of YouTube.

Real of not, Dax hints at the development of an entirely new form of entertainment in which the viewers, through their messages and videos, interact with the central "character," creating an ever-widening world. Search for DaxFlame on Google, and you'll find that he's the subject of debate and discussion in groups all over the world. Search on YouTube, and you'll find videos about Dax. Some are direct responses to Dax's own videos, while others are extensive investigations into Dax's true origin. Still others are Dax inspired - imitiating or emulating his videos.

Characters on YouTube, real or not, have a much more intimate connection with their audience. Their 3 or 5 or 10 minute videos seem personal and unedited. The most popular people on Youtube aren't slick, well rehearsed or even particularly articulate. They feel real. Their connection is more personal.

This isn't "reality television," as conventional programming has defined it. Audience-based programming, perhaps?

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