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With QAnon conspiracies and radical disinformation abounding, it's easy to forget that the internet began as a technology to help democratize information and empower individuals.


Putting those evil echo chambers on the shelf for just a moment, it can be illuminating to take stock of what global, digital connection has created.

Crowdsourcing allows multiple perspectives and experts to gather in an instant and collaborate. Similarly, well-meaning folks can pool money to help good causes overnight.

People of all ages can express themselves with videos and blogs, honing their musical, poetic, and visual voices.

And, of course, there is so much knowledge. Encyclopedias and tutorials are everywhere you look. It's actually amazing that so many people took the time to teach the viewers they'll never meet, or even see.

But alas, those tutorials have saved more people in a pinch than we could ever count.

vic403403 asked, "People of Reddit, what was the most useful tutorial on YouTube you have ever seen?"

Many people find themselves against the ropes with a product or tool so specific that seems like it takes a pilot's license to work with.

Luckily, the internet is a numbers game. And with so many people out there making videos, there's bound to be at least one person who took the time to explain that tool, that model, from that year, and all for free.

Boiler Back Online 

"Some dude explaining how to fix my obscure brand of hot water boiler."

"The manual exists nowhere online, nowhere sells it anywhere, but there are gods among men out there who make YouTube tutorials all the same."

-- hairy_eyeball

Saving Cash, Saving Clothes

"I was able to take apart my dryer to replace the belt with a YouTube video of the exact brand" -- _Goose_

"I just did the same thing a month ago. It was tough but $30 in parts and two hours of labor saved me well over $100." -- chrissoindie

A Long History of Time and Money Saved 

"That's a hard question to answer for me. It's going to be a mix of videos on various car and appliance repairs."

"A quick peek at Google/YouTube for how-tos have saved me several thousand dollars over the years by showing me how to fix a problem that I'd otherwise have had to use an auto shop or appliance center to fix."

"I try to always throw them a $5 or $10 tip as thanks when I can find donation or Patreon info as thanks, but not all of them have ways to donate.

"Giving a few hundred dollars in thank-you tips over the years is far better than thousands of dollars it would have otherwise cost."

-- MarioneTTe-Doll

One Screen to Another

"Lived in a rental house where my lease said that we were responsible for the window screens, including replacing them if needed. A bunch were broken or falling out of the frames."

"The move-out paperwork said every broken screen would cost $60."

"Found a YouTube tutorial with links to cheap supplies and really well-done directions. Saved hundreds of dollars and it was super easy."

-- sleepytimeghee

For others, it's all about the hair.

Few things are more important than a person's look. Style never takes a back seat. So you can rest assured that plenty of people have made videos to express their own choices and teach a little in the process.

There When He Needed It

"Way way back in the day... how to style men's hair... as a trans man it means to much to open a video and have a guy talk to you like a man and say things like 'you got this man' or 'now you're looking sharp man' and stupid things like saying bro and handsome."

"Sometimes I'd open one just to feel validated. 10/10 highly recommend for the dysphoric."

-- Kuneria

Quarantine Needs 

"Cutting your own hair tutorials. Lifesaver through lockdown" -- JistHaudOanAMinute

"Lol, my husband has not cut his hair since before lockdown. His hair is now longer than mine." -- donttouchmycupcake

"Should have watched that before shaving my head and i might have realized beforehand that 6mm is really short, lol" -- xMoonbreaker

Many people owe their understanding of basic life skills to Youtube. Sure our parents teach us some of the big ones, but there are so many things to tackle throughout a lifetime that we could never rely on one or two people to cover them all.

Thankfully, complete strangers help take on the chaotic world.

Whichever the Animals, You'll Need It, Gents

"How to tie a tie" -- Ayush189

"I had seen a couple. It wasn't until watching the show Dexter that it finally clicked for me. Something about a rabbit jumping over a log." -- payokat

"I had to watch one of those videos when I was late for school. Phew!" -- Trex1873

Getting More Miles on Your Pants 

"How to hand sew a zigzag stitch (which is what lets stitching stretch with a fabric so they dont just break). It took me way to long because all the tutorials I found were for how to hit the zigzag stitch button on a sewing machine. Smh"

-- GlitterGothBunny

Huge

"How to put on duvet covers by folding it like a burrito... been using it for years now" -- rcclee

"How to put a king size duvet back into the cover without a second person. Not much but my god it removed a source of fury from my life" -- Mischief_Makers

Ya Never Know

"Artificial insemination of Bulldog"

"Don't judge me. It was 3am in the morning. Learnt a lot that night."

-- RudenessUpgrade

Keep Those Wheels Movin'

"How to check and fill a tire. Not that I was never taught that, but since all knowledge escapes me in panic mode it got me out of a pinch." -- kannakantplay

"Any bike-related stuff on Park Tool. I'm a beginner cyclist and their vids are logical and straightforward." -- WowIsLoveWowIsLife

Joining Contemporary Life

"genuinely taking a screenshot."

"before being inside 24/7/365 (almost yay), I had the tech skills of a dead Amish animal and since I've made a Reddit account, I've been making memes by having a blank template and putting words on it using PowerPoint and screenshotting it..."

"...then posting it to Reddit on various meme Subreddits. being a no-life has let me to amass a high volume of a useless internet points in a relatively short amount of time and it's great"

-- Wallet_Insp3ctor

Oat Tips

"How to make oat milk - basic af but saves me a lot of money as oat milk is expensive in Australia y'all." -- donttouchmycupcake

"Recently watched a video where a women soaks her oats in amalayse first so it's not like slimy and one other person suggested freezing oats first. If I get it perfect I'll definitely start making my own again" -- laz0rtears

Up Your Dinner Party Game 

"How to use a chefs knife correctly and how to even find the best knife that fits your personal style and preferences."

"Changed me and my cooking skills forever and saved me tons of time. Also made my cooking much more safe."

"The problem with most of these skills is that people don't even know what their missing"

-- Ehrensohn

Youtube: the Eternally Patient Teacher

"For me it was how to drive a manual."

"I hadn't learned and I was in my 30s. I tried having people teach me in person. No luck and usually just frustration on all ends (telling someone to shift when it feels right doesn't always work)."

"Watched a few videos and, more or less, got in and took off."

-- rudeorange

Resorting to Your Own Devices

"Khan Academy tutorials."

"We had an absolute shi**y teacher in our microeconomics course... the kind that stopped keeping touch with academics long ago and just teaches for the sake of it. The classes turned more pathetic online."

"She would literally just read out the slides, no explanations, nothing, couldn't give a satisfactory answers to the class's questions either. The micro tutorials of khan academy saved my grade and sanity. God bless that channel."

-- bratbeep


So next time you ever wonder how to do anything, have some confidence that at least one other person out there encountered exactly that difficulty.

The question becomes obvious: did they make a video about that?

If they didn't, maybe it's your turn.


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