Today I posted my first video to YouTube, on Winter Blackberry Care. Honestly, the production values are not that great. If you do have blackberries or other brambles, though, you may find watching it worth your while.
My primary interest in mentioning that here is not self-promotion, however. (It does come in a respectable second, though). I more want to comment on an interesting developing phenomemon. While there is a lot of silliness being posted to YouTube, more and more serious offerings are showing up there: how-to's, political commentary, financial advice, to name a few.
What makes this interesting is the ease of putting stuff out there. I spent $40 for the camera, $9 for the SD card, and a few dollars for the batteries. After a few minutes of filming and a little over an hour to upload, my video is out there for everyone to see. That level of access is relatively unprecedented.
There is a dark side to all this, too. I could have given all the same basic information in under a page of text, which would have only taken up a few kilobytes. If I wanted to be fancier, adding a few good pictures could have told all the details you can get from watching the video, at a cost of a couple megabytes at most. As a video, however, I uploaded over 300 megabytes (though I presume YouTube compressed it for download.)
Not only does the video take up more room, it is much harder to store it. As far as I know, there is no legitimate way to download the video from YouTube. Printing it out would also prove very difficult. If the information was presented in a text or PDF file, downloading and printing could both be fairly easy.
Of course this also means if you don't have access to the Internet, you don't have access to this information. While the Internet itself was supposedly designed to withstand a nuclear war, I'm sure there would be nowhere near the ease of connecting as there is today. For my little piece of gardening advice, that hardly matters. But if more and more people start relying on knowledge from the Internet, especially in the form of videos, there is the potential for great loss.
We can use technology on the Long Ascent, but we need to ask ourselves whether it is appropriate and what would happen if it wasn't available.