With so much criticism lately being directed at the more “unsavory” content on YouTube that I’ve discussed previously, it might be easy to lose track of why I’m still one of YouTube’s biggest fans.
Anyone could be forgiven for forgetting that despite highly offensive or even dangerous videos on YouTube that can attract millions of views and understandable public scrutiny, there are many other types of YT videos that attract much less attention but collectively do an incalculably large amount of good.
One example is YT’s utterly enormous collection of legitimate and incredibly helpful “How-To” videos — covering a breathtaking array of topics.
I’m not referring here to “formal” education videos — though these are also present in tremendous numbers and are usually very welcome indeed. Nor am I just now discussing product installation and similar videos often posted by commercial firms — though these are also often genuinely useful.
Rather, today I’d like to highlight the wonders of “informal” YT videos that walk viewers through the “how-to” or other explanatory steps regarding pretty much any possible topic involving computers, electronics, plumbing, automotive, homemaking, hobbies, sports — seemingly almost everything under the sun.
These videos are typically created by a cast and crew of one individual, often without any formal on-screen titles, background music, or other “fancy” production values.
It’s not uncommon to never see the faces of these videos’ creators. Often you’ll just see their hands at a table or workbench — and hear their informal voice narration — as they proceed through the learning steps of whatever topic that they wish to share.
These videos tend with remarkable frequency to begin with the creator saying “Hi guys!” or “Hey guys!” — and often when you find them they’ll only have accumulated a few thousand views or even fewer.
I’ve been helped by videos like these innumerable times over the years, likely saving me thousands of dollars and vast numbers of wasted hours — permitting me to accomplish by myself projects that otherwise would have been expensive to have done by others, and helping me to avoid costly repair mistakes as well.
To my mind, these kinds of “how-to” creators and their videos aren’t just among the best parts of YouTube, but they’re also shining stars that represent much of what we many years ago had hoped the Internet would grow into being.
These videos are the result of individuals simply wanting to share knowledge to help other people. These creators aren’t looking for fame or recognition — typically their videos aren’t even monetized.
These “how-to” video makers are among the very best not only of YouTube and of the Internet — but of humanity in general as well. The urge to help others is among our species’ most admirable traits — something to keep in mind when the toxic wasteland of Internet abuses, racism, politicians, sociopathic presidents — and all the rest — really start to get you down.
And that’s the truth.