9 YouTube videos that changed my perspective on the world and the lessons I learned

Above, TED co-founder Chris Anderson talks about the impact of Youtube and other online video has on the world.

Youtube was a powerful part of moving forward content dissemination on the web. Suddenly there was a free place to host, distribute and embed easily video that drove traffic and audience.

About which time Youtube was overwhelmed with kitten videos, personal photos looped under copyrighted music and clips of everything in between.

But, through all the muck, there is brilliance. That much I’ve found since I first clicked on a Youtube link in an email in my college sophomore year apartment and shared with my roommate. Universities are beginning to share lectures online, and more teachers, lessons and ideas are spreading on Youtube. (Perhaps not as much as kitten videos)

To prove there is more than the nonsense, below, I share the 10 videos that have made the biggest impact on me and the lessons I took from them.

MAKE LEARNING DIGESTIBLE

A friend shared last year this cartoon ‘Brief history of the World,’ and while it’s nothing perfect, it does well to make big perspectives a little less overwhelming.

DATA AND ITS VISUALIZATION ONLINE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

I first saw parts of this BBC documentary, the Joy of Stats, on, yup, Youtube. I first saw this a year or so ago, and it fed a curiosity, now that I’m reporting regularly on the use of data to make governments more transparent, I am passionate about the power of data and their online utility.

VOYEURISM IS A POWERFUL HUMAN INTEREST AND TECHNOLOGY FEEDS THAT

Time magazine shared this video of a man trapped in an elevator for 41 hours.

 

‘THE BALL HAS TO LAND SOMEWHERE’

A video shared from The Streets.

WE MAKE OUR OWN HAPPINESS

Now, of course, TED talk videos are just about the best content online. There are dozens of talks that have impacted my worldview, from one of my favorites to a great one on this very topic — the impact of online video. But Dan Gilbert addressed the topic of happiness and it, along with similar notions I had read about, truly impacted my concepts of the notion. (And yes, the particular video below isn’t a Youtube file, but the video is, this TED version just happens to be of higher quality)

HISTORY HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT STORIES ARE RECORDED

I came across a series of voice recordings posted on Youtube from Fountain Hughes, said to be one of just a few dozen recorded interviews with former black American slaves. When I first heard this and other recordings, the profound importance of recording was further instilled in me.

 

ENJOY THE NOW

Alan Watts on the meaning of life

 

DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY

Youtube is how I first came across comedian Bill Hicks a couple years ago, through a clip he shared his progressive take on the world:

CONTEXT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN INFORMATION

EXPANSION OF MULTIMEDIA TOOLS IS PUBLISHING REVOLUTION

Ultimately, though, the real power of Youtube was giving access to video hosting to, you know, the masses. So, the first time I posted a video on Youtube, I found a certain power for its ability to be distributed. Posting a trailer I made from a documentary of my summer in Ghana in 2005 really showed me the direction multimedia was heading.