In praise of YouTube

For some months, it’s been annoying me that the clock in the car I drive is not set to the proper time. The manual is not available and my experimentation with various buttons on the dashboard has been to no avail. It occurred to me last week to search for video instructions on YouTube and what do you know? Some kind soul had explained how to do it. 

I have to admit that when YouTube first came on the scene, I didn’t understand the appeal. My impression was that the videos were mostly goofy, if not downright dumb, and I thought it was all a waste of time. Maybe both YouTube and I have evolved because while there are certainly videos I don’t care to view, there are also many that have been useful and entertaining.

Take crocheting—most of the stitches I’ve learned, I’ve learned from watching one of the many explanatory videos available. Not all the presenters are skilled at demonstrating and the quality varies, but there are several who are really helpful (a shout-out to the Bella Coco channel for so many great tutorials). The same goes for patterns—written instructions can be a challenge, but for the majority of the patterns I’ve tried, someone has made a video that makes it much easier to understand the pattern (another shout-out to The Crochet Crowd on that one).

My YouTube fandom goes beyond instructional videos, though. Read in an article that Queen’s set at the 1985 Live Aid concert is considered one of the greatest rock performances of all time? The video is on YouTube (and it is a great performance). Read after her death that Aretha Franklin sang “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with George Michael? The music video is on YouTube. Read in an article about Jason Brown’s fantastic free skate at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships? Yep, that’s there too.

But one of my greatest pleasures with YouTube is searching for and finding videos of skits and shows I remember seeing on television when I was a child and teenager, like Tim Conway as the dentist treating Harvey Korman (and cracking him up) on The Carol Burnett Show or Danny Kaye guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic.

Then there are the movie clips. When I need a quick boost, watching Gene Kelly Singin’ in the Rain usually does it for me. I never get tired of watching the title sequence of Top Gun or Much Ado about Nothing. And did you know that you and a friend can entertain yourselves for an hour or two by watching favorite scenes from movies or filmed live performances?! 

So, YouTube, I owe you a vote of thanks for providing a platform for the information, memories, and fun.

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