Looking for documentaries about online culture
March 8, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for documentaries dealing with online culture, the Internet, video games and the like.

Teaching a course in the Sociology of Cyberspace (yeah, not my name), and I have been more or less unsuccessful at finding any decent documentaries, save for one I found on Google Video about blogging, as well as the recent Frontline documentary on growing up online (which was actually really well done).

The more recent the better, but I am open to whatever. Thanks!
posted by Quartermass to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The BBC broadcasted a decent documentary in December 2006, because it focussed on what is changing right now.

* Imagine... World Wide Web, BBC1, 10.35pm Tuesday 5 December 2006.
posted by ijsbrand at 10:47 AM on March 8, 2008

King of Kong is the best documentary about video games I've ever seen, but I dunno if it offers any insights into the sociology of cyberspace. Ditto Startup.com, except that it's about dot-com-era business, and forget that best-I've-ever-seen part.
posted by box at 10:56 AM on March 8, 2008

Rise of the Video Games From Pong to Now

Triumph of the Nerds A bit old, but some great interviews with some great people.
posted by mattdini at 11:03 AM on March 8, 2008

The 1999 documentary Home Page is somewhat uneven, but is the only film I know of about the early manifestation of personal expression on the Web.

The PBS documentary The Video Game Revolution is much better than the Discovery Channel's recent stab at the same topic.

Jason Scott's BBS Documentary illuminates the pre-Internet origins of many conventions and practices online today.
posted by jjg at 11:09 AM on March 8, 2008

Molotov's Dispatches in Search of the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey

"An animated documentary that chronicles an avatar named Molotov Alva and his travels through the virtual world learning of the complex social interactions that take place within Second Life."
posted by wordsmith at 11:09 AM on March 8, 2008

Somebody wrote their masters thesis on the community here at Metafilter. My google-fu is failing me incredibly at the moment.
posted by slogger at 11:27 AM on March 8, 2008

Seconding The King of Kong.
posted by scody at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2008

Here's the link/citation for that metafilter thesis mentioned above:

User Quartermass, "Capital and Stratification within Virtual Community: A Case Study of Metafilter.com," (MA thesis, University of Lethbridge, 2005).
posted by k8lin at 11:49 AM on March 8, 2008

You should start with the BBS documentary.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2008

slogger and k8lin, I suspect the original poster will be quite familiar with the content of that thesis.

Think twice about The King of Kong, unless you're interested in demonstrating techniques documentary filmmakers use to manipulate audience sympathies.
posted by jjg at 12:00 PM on March 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

24 hours on craigslist
posted by gcat at 12:28 PM on March 8, 2008

I second box's suggestion for King of Kong. Fantastic movie.
posted by Tachoh at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2008

A Computer Network Called Internet" - circa 1993
posted by loiseau at 12:55 PM on March 8, 2008

You probably already know of the book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen. It's controversial within the blogging community, but any study of online culture would be incomplete without having read it.

As for your actual question about documentaries, I would highly recommend the DiscoveryScience channel's new series, "Download." You can even watch the series online:
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2008

This episode of Wonderland just aired on BBC2. Could be up your alley. (cough) youtorrent (cough).
posted by doublesix at 1:07 PM on March 8, 2008

Response by poster: Oh my Metafilter thesis, how you continue to haunt my dreams.

These are excellent. I am reading the Keen book right now, which I am finding much to fault with (unsurprisingly).

Thanks for these so far!
posted by Quartermass at 1:09 PM on March 8, 2008

IRL (In Real Life) by Stephanie Tuszynski is a documentary about an online community of Buffy fans. I'll be showing it this semester in my CMC class, and it comes recommended by others in the Association of Internet Researchers.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:04 PM on March 8, 2008

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