In my spare time when I’m surfing the web, I eventually end up on YouTube watching videos. Exotic places; thrill seeking adventures; how-to videos; music videos; pranks… you name it and I’ll bet it’s on YouTube. Most people go onto YouTube to research or watch a specific topic, and so do I, mostly. But lately I’ve developed a sort of YouTube game that I play to pass the time as well as expand my exposure to things, places, and people that I normally would not have watched. It’s a organized approach to wandering through multiple interrelated and sometimes disconnected videos covering a multitude of subjects. I call it YouTube Trekking…..
Here’s how it YouTube Trekking works: Once you’re on YouTube and have viewed a video, any video, YouTube populates the viewing screen with a selection of about 12 associated or related videos. Here’s where the trekking parts comes in. The game is predicated on this one simple requirement: You must select one of the videos presented. No cheating or searching or opting out allowed. The game is to continue stumbling like a nomad through various videos, exploring and experiencing something new and unknown.
The key to a successful YouTube Trek is to recognize that out of those 12 video choices provided by YouTube’s search algorithm, only one or two are just a little less “connected” to the current topic. These are the ones to pick if you’re trying to get out of a content rut. Sometimes you can get locked into a group of videos where everyone has uploaded their version of “Call me Maybe” or some other equally stimulating video trend. Just keep clicking and going for the odd choice and your trek will get back “off” track.
The fun of YouTube Trekking is the ability to traverse such a wide variety of content areas and watch how the connections are made. It’s a bit like playing Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon) on YouTube. It’s surprising how you can start out watching a Barack Obama speech and end up with a wild boar hunt in the Outback, or Russian road rage videos. The only bad aspect of this game is the proliferation of videos with embedded or forced commercials…. I hate them. And the recent Presidential and Congressional elections just about killed this trekking game for me.
So give it a shot and you may just be surprised where YouTube takes you, too!