Monday, September 30, 2013

Darn You YouTube!




I find YouTube to be a great social media site to find videos on a wide variety of topics. It really doesn’t matter what you are looking for whether it is a how to project, movies, political speeches, classroom lectures, or simply a cat barking like a dog you can, for the most part, find it on YouTube. In fact, I think I have looked up at least one thing in each of those categories.

However, there is a dark side to YouTube. It is an aspect shared by many sites both of a social nature and otherwise. The downside is very simple; YouTube can be a tremendous time suck if you are not paying attention. And that is just for those of us watching the videos, who knows how much time some people invest in their visual projects (I know for a fact that a few people to whom I am subscribed invest hours and sometimes days to every post they make).

YouTube is a primary example of the potato chip effect… you can’t just watch one video. You can goes days or weeks without visiting the site but on those occasions that you find yourself pressing play it takes a tremendous amount of self control and will power to keep within a proper portion. Admittedly, on a few occasions I have gone on the site with the intention of watch a single video and an hour or more later I left feeling bloated, lazy, and unproductive.

Social Media in general can cause intellectual obesity where you are taking in a lot of information but it is not the right information, it is not a health mix that we need to sustain our minds and think at optimal efficiency. Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn can have the same effect, all in varying degrees but to your detriment nevertheless. Moderation, just like many things in life, is the key to the healthy use of social media.

However, there is an aspect to this site that is frequently overlooked. YouTube is a tremendous asset for preserving memories both of current events but also the accounts of older family members about your own heritage. This is a tool that needs to be leveraged by genealogy researchers in over to add depth to the leaves on the tree and voice to past generations. You can make videos public or keep them private with only family members having access through a direct link. Use this as a tool not just for entertainment but for education of others and the preservation of history.

Don’t let social media be a burden. Use it to enhance life rather than replace it. Be the one to live life rather than watch someone live theirs. Enjoy what this world has to offer and share it with others because experience is the best way to increase your knowledge and broaden your understanding off all that surrounds you and everything that makes you who you are.