Interesting read on the psychology behind how-to videos via Nautilus.
An insistent pattern has quietly taken hold in my household. I will order some consumer product online. The product will arrive. I will open the package, extract the thing from its protective wrappings, and retrieve the instruction manual. I will examine the product briefly, then begin to read the instruction manual. And then I will go to YouTube.
There, I will find, almost invariably, that someone has already done the thing that I am hoping to do. They will have documented the process with varying degrees of professionalism ranging from chirpy, well-captioned professional productions to people in their poorly-lit bedrooms.
Most recently, it was a hitch-mounted bicycle rack for my car giving me trouble. The written instructions were telegraphic, the drawings may well have been ancient cuneiform. I found my salvation on YouTube, and the rack was road-ready in minutes. When I later thanked a friend who had recommended the product, I confessed I had gotten a video assist on the install. “The guy with the Subaru?” he asked. “In his driveway?” Our path to enlightenment had apparently crossed, along with some 57,000 other viewers.
It is not just product assembly. My YouTube search history is filled with moments of fleeting pedagogy: How to best “pop up” on a surfboard, how to play Dinosaur Jr.’s “Get Me” on guitar, how to set up a private server for my daughter’s Minecraft (Minecraft tutorials alone must number in the hundreds of thousands). When a plumber came by to unclog our toilet, he tenderly told me after I could have done the same thing with an auger from the hardware store—and saved $100. And so I immediately purchased the device. But how to use it properly? To YouTube I went, suddenly realizing I should have looked there first. I was steered to a video of a man patiently demonstrating auger technique on a sample jam. This task, he noted, was a plumber’s “cash cow.” He joked about being forgiven, if any plumbers happened to be watching, for “giving away the secrets.” But he need not have worried: YouTube is rife with auger demonstrations from plumbers themselves.
Last year, it was estimated that YouTube was home to more than 135 million how-to videos.2 In a 2008 survey, “instructional videos” were ranked to be the site’s third most popular content category—albeit a “distant third” behind “performance and exhibition” and “activism and outreach.”3 More recent data suggest that distance may have closed: In 2015, Google noted that “how to” searches on YouTube were increasing 70 percent annually.4 The genre is by now so mature that it makes for easy satire.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.