Once you sort through all the people trying to make it big with a homemade music video or performing the unimaginably stupid (yet sometimes entertaining) feat, you can actually find a world of useful knowledge. You want to learn how to do something? Search Youtube.
I was talking with a colleague of mine the other day about how a mechanic had quoted him 150 bucks to fix an electrical problem in his wife’s car. Instead of using the mechanic, though, he found a video on Youtube about how to replace the part and did it himself. It ended up costing around $30 for the part, plus he got the rewarding feeling of being self sufficient.
I’ve done the same to find techniques to work on my motorcycle. The bike’s old as dirt (40 years) but I have no problem learning how to take care of minor repairs from videos I find on Youtube.
Lately I’ve also been using it to learn techniques for building websites in Dreamweaver. I can basically find an entire tutorial for any function or skill I learned in school. It’s like a low budget low resolution university – a university with a very broad course list.
That being said I’m pretty sure if you look at the continuum of useful versus obnoxious on Youtube, it would weigh heavily toward the latter, so maybe it’s more of a community college.
Still, it’s nice to search for instructions on how to do something and more than likely find a free tutorial on the subject. Remember those Bob Vila ‘how to’ books where you can learn how to do anything around the house? Youtube is kinda like that, although I’m pretty sure Bob Vila has a lot more common sense (and a much nicer beard).