YouTube, and why I might not need vehicle telematics

I’ve recently set up a very simple online survey for some of the MSc students about their use of web resources.  It’s a quick and crude survey, and I’ve had just 8 responses so far out of a population of 18, so results need to be treated with caution for all the reasons that I discussed in my post of 18th November.  But two of the questions are about the students’ use of different web 2 tools – blogs, wikis, twitter and YouTube, and already a pattern is emerging.

When asked which tools they would be comfortable using as sources of information, they identified YouTube as by far the most popular.  7 of the 8 who have responded so far said that they’d use it.  This places it ahead of blogs and wikis, and at the opposite end of the scale from Twitter, which none of the students used for information, despite its popularity with high-profile members of the Twitterati.

So there’s an indication that among this group at least, YouTube has caught users’ imagination and Twitter hasn’t.  Somehow bite-sized videos, however amateurish, are attractive whereas short fragments of text aren’t, even to a group accustomed to using text messaging for one-to-one communication.  Maybe it’s just evidence of how powerful visual communication can be.

Curiously there is a connection here with my post a while back about why vehicle telematics might be useful, to help to diagnose faults in a car.  On YouTube there’s a video of somebody in a car exactly the same as mine, making exactly the same creaking sound that mine does in cold weather.  If only the person who put that video up had identified the fault, and shared it with his viewers, YouTube would have proved a more useful fault-finding tool than vehicle telematics.

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