Last fall, when I was interviewing intern candidates, one thing I noticed was that many of them told a similar story – when they needed to acquire a new skill, they watched tutorials and lectures on YouTube. One had an internship the previous summer working on a C++ project, and she told me that she watched C++ videos every morning before work in order to get up to speed quickly.
I’m also interested in the phenomenon of unboxing videos. These seem to serve two purposes, the first is to provide a vicarious thrill to watchers. People record themselves opening packs of baseball cards or other collectibles with the hopes of getting a rare item. The more practical purpose, though, is showing people exactly what they get when they make a purchase. Product photos can be deceptive, and unboxing videos can give you a better idea of what a product is like.
Finally, there are huge numbers of conference talks and lectures available online. If you want an intro to Docker, or an interesting scaling case study, or a survey of the current state of application security, the talks are out there.
I lead a text-oriented life, but while I was reading, a huge amount of compelling video was produced and published. I find that when I watch video, it’s easier to avoid distraction than it is when reading big chunks of text. Besides, even if I switch away from a video for a few seconds to catch up on Twitter, the audio still continues in the background, so maybe even the distractions are less distracting.
Now I’m trying to retrain myself to search for video first as an information source. As a member of the generation that was raised by television, you’d think this would come to me more naturally.