Starting off with another one of my not-so-clever plays on a movie title to start off the topic of this blog post: My internet rabbit hole. This title, if you don’t know, is a play on the delightful rom-com with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey from 2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Here’s a fun Friday fact: I enjoy how-to videos on YouTube immensely. That’s my internet rabbit hole. To be specific, I typically enjoy the amateur versions more than the professional, polished company doing a cleanly-produced how-to video. No shade at ’em because I’m sure they’re fine, but for example, eHow has a lot of those kind of videos.
The internet (rightly, in many ways) gets derided for being a hellscape where trolls barrage you into submission, and it sucks. But there’s also beautiful parts of the internet that allow for human ingenuity and helpfulness to flourish, and I can’t think of a much better example of that than the how-to video genre.
Seriously, fill in the blank to the end of the sentence, “How to …,” and there will be a video on it from someone, somewhere, at some point in time. It’s beautiful. That’s my cornball take.
The reason I like the amateur videos is because I like someone like me showing someone, well, like me, how to do a basic task. That someone took the time to video that, upload it and share it with the world is cool.
And by basic, I mean basic. The most fun how-to videos are typically some of the most basic ones. I don’t know why, to be honest. Again, I think it fascinates me that someone took the time to demonstrate such a basic task. For example, two of my favorite go-to videos (and I’m being serious about go-to, I’ve watched these numerous times) are actually Ted Talks. Both also play into my aesthetic choice of enjoying rather unpolished how-to videos because the videos are a number of years old now.
How to use one paper towel
How to tie your shoes
See, so basic! Maybe I also like their voices? That’s another important aesthetic aspect, and it goes for podcasts, too. Yes, I’m weird.
Food ones are a big one for me, too. I enjoy watching other people make food, and again, yes, basic food. Cleaning as well. Watching people fold clothes or make a bed is relaxing!
One of the first of the how-to genre I got into was, believe it or not, makeup ones. That’s another relaxing one, and it’s also another fascinating world I don’t know anything about since I don’t wear makeup. There was one series I enjoyed that was this guy who showed how to do clown makeup. It’s quite extensive, as you can imagine. That’s dedication to the craft.
Honestly, when I’m feeling down and don’t feel like thinking, I turn to videos like this, and go down the rabbit hole typing in, “How to …” on YouTube for a couple hours until I feel better. There’s also fun in trying to find new “how-to” videos I haven’t seen before or on basic subjects I haven’t explored before.
And yes, sometimes, when I actually need help with something, YouTube has been instrumental. Again, there’s nothing you can’t find how-to do on YouTube. The most recent example I can think of is a how-to video helped me put a new doorknob on my door.
This video helped me learn how to tie a tie, and for some reason, it doesn’t stick in my head, so I routinely return to the video to make sure I’m doing it right:
How to tie a tie
The best how-to videos, like the tie video here, are basic in another way: There’s not a lot of preamble. There’s not six minutes before we get to the reason I’m watching the video. That’s helpful. Also helpful is to be able to see what they are doing and for them to go step-by-step instead of skipping past a step or two.
But! There’s another class of how-to video I highly enjoy. While I’m not as into professionally produced how-to videos, I am into professional people. That is, I enjoy watching people who excel at whatever it is they do … do the thing. And the more niche it is, the more fascinated I am.
It also amuses me (in a lighthearted, genuinely happy way) when the person is dressed up doing the thing. Like the guy in the Ted Talk video above telling me how to tie my shoes while wearing a suit. I love that juxtaposition for some reason.
I’m revealing a lot about my weirdo tendencies here, but, hey, what’s a blog for if not that?
An example of what I’m talking about, particularly the niche aspect, is the videos of Luigi Spotorno. What’s Luigi niche? He’s the “world maestro on the art of napkin folding.” That’s a beautiful, seemingly fading art-form. He even wrote a book about it called Luigi’s Language of Napkin Folding. How wonderful is that? Those beautiful napkins you see at fancy dinner parties? This guy can do them! Here’s one video:
How to make Christmas napkins
How lovely, huh?
I think I’ve given enough of a demonstration about this quirk of mine.
Do you like how-to videos? And what sorts of how-to videos do you usually watch, if so? If not, what is your quirk? What’s your “internet rabbit hole”?