Matthew Girard column: What are you watching?

Matthew Girard
More Content Now USA TODAY NETWORK
Cherokee County News Advocate

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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How did people even live before YouTube?

That’s a question that often pops into my head when I’m perusing through the online video-sharing platform’s almost limitless amount of content. I lived the first 24 years of my life without it just fine, but I give a lot of credit to the video sharing site for helping me become the mostly functional adult I am today.

I give credit to YouTube because there’s not a week that goes by that I’m not searching for some kind of how-to video. Along with searching for videos like “how to trim your beard” or “how to change the oil in a truck” or “how to light a fire in the fireplace,” I also use YouTube to watch documentaries or lectures to enhance my knowledge about a variety of different subjects on almost a daily basis.

My 7-year-old daughter is also a fan of YouTube, but for very different reasons.

While I mostly use and enjoy YouTube for practical reasons, my daughter enjoys it because … she can watch other kids unbox toys? Like millions of other kids around the world, my daughter has been swept up in the video phenomenon of watching other kids “play.” From opening toys to watching others play video games to a variety of ridiculous “challenges,” she will watch video after video after video of kids doing things she could be doing herself. Watching these videos alongside her, I have never understood her fascination with them.

“I watch them because they are funny, exciting and not boring,” she has said when I’ve asked her about her viewing habits.

On the flip side, she doesn’t understand my fascination with watching “those shows that put me to sleep” as she would say.

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing for a trip to my hometown and had purchased a puffer jacket to combat the frigid temperatures I would be facing. Upon bringing the jacket home I discovered an instruction patch on the inside demonstrating how the jacket conveniently folded in on itself to save space. While the instruction panel did have pictures of how to fold the jacket, there were no words to explain each step. As I struggled to figure out to get the jacket to fold properly, my daughter came over to see what I was doing.

“I can’t figure this out,” I said.

“Let me see,” said my daughter as she studied the instructions.

After just one failed attempt at folding the puffer, she grabbed my phone and said, “I’ll YouTube it. What should I search?”

“Type in ‘Puffer Jacket Fold,’” I said, feeling a sense of pride with her practical use of YouTube.

“Got it!” she exclaimed.

“It’s the habanero pepper puffer jacket folding challenge.”

Matthew Girard is a columnist for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at mgirard@gannett.com.