Green River Star -

By DAVID MARTIN
Editor 

YouTube offers more than serving up limitless videos

 

October 11, 2017



For anyone whose read the columns I’ve written on the page over the past year, it’s easy to say I’ve developed a fascination with YouTube, arguably the internet’s most popular video hosting website.

There’s a lot to see on almost any topic a person can think of. Want to check out what the street food scene looks like in Bangkok or Los Angeles? What about watching a man build a primitive hut with only the most basic of tools? Want to take a tour of a hand-made Christmas putz in the middle of July? YouTube offers these opportunities, along with many others.

For me, it’s an opportunity to look at something in a way that isn’t readily available to a resident of Southwestern Wyoming. It offers a chance to see micro communities of people talking about the things most people wouldn’t even imagine being “a thing.” A few months ago, I wrote about a guy who eats and reviews military rations, posting in-depth looks into what kinds of food soldiers are given across the world. There’s a dedicated group of people who think rations and shelf-stable bread are some of the most amazing things ever created.

My fascination with YouTube has fizzled out over the past few months, though it recently resurfaced in one of the most unexpected places.

My parents are the proud owners of Apple iPads. That’s a sentence that, had I written it 10 years ago, would have been the punchline to a joke as I wouldn’t have ever guessed either of them to take to having a tablet as well as they have. While going over how the different apps work, I remember introducing them to YouTube and showed off a couple of things they could watch -- half thinking YouTube would end up taking a back seat to Netflix and Hulu, or the virtual ski ball game I downloaded onto my father’s tablet.

Stopping by their house not too long ago, I found my mom watching TV in the living room. I could hear the faint sounds of beeping coming out of my parents’ bedroom. I ask where’s Dad, knowing he’s likely goofing off on his iPad.

“Oh, he’s in there watching videos of heavy equipment on YouTube,” she replies.

My father worked in Sweetwater County’s mines throughout much of his life. Prior to retiring, he ran heavy equipment at Bridger Coal Company. He has always enjoyed talking about the machines he operated and pointing out, while driving on family trips, how a loader or other piece of equipment being driven down the interstate on an oversize trailer was “just a baby.”

In that regard, hearing about him watching heavy machinery work wasn’t all that surprising. However, when I learned about my two-year-old nephew spending time with his grandfather watching massive buckets scoop dirt and pour it into a waiting dump truck, I realized it was a lot more than just a video of some earth movers.

It was a way for a grandfather to show his grandson something about himself. Ultimately, YouTube offered an opportunity for my father to show off massive machines he worked with and spend time with one of the most amazing things ever created.

That, right there, is the power of YouTube summed up.

 

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