The days of library cards and expensive courses are over, if you want them to be! While traditional school and reading are still always great options, our two favorite friendly online resources Google and YouTube are here (and free!) for you. Whether you’re looking to get some advice from an expert, learn a new skill, brush up on some skills you already have, or nearly anything else, these two are about to be your best friend.
Anything from how to create a great resume, to how to prepare a new recipe, to how to learn a new language are all just a click (and a Google or YouTube search) away.
How to Best Use Google to Educate Yourself?
Know what you’re looking for
The internet is a big place. You need to know somewhat of what you’re looking for, or one wrong turn can lead you down a distracting, and often misleading path down some strange parts of the internet. By having a specific topic you are looking to learn about, you are much more likely to find what you are looking for. Which brings us into our next topic.
Know how to search
For businesses, being found in Google search results helps boost sales. They want you to find their listings. That being said, you need to know how to structure your search terms to find what you want. If you are looking for a very specific couple of words or phrase, put it in quotes. Go for specific and multi-word search term, a (near or complete) full sentence or question also works. The more specific your search terms, the most specific your results. Your results will be ordered by their “accuracy” or similarity to what you search. The top results are often ads and will be noted, so those aren’t necessarily the best, they just paid to be there.
Triple check your sources
As we mentioned above, Google search ranking is often skewed by paid promotions and the accuracy and quality of the search terms you chose. Something on the first page is not necessarily the best or most accurate. Once you click on a link you find via search, check out the website’s homepage, about us section, social media, and reviews elsewhere. Companies obviously put their best foot forward on their own site, but other’s opinions of them can also help you determine their credibility. You don’t want to learn from a site created by a totally illegitimate or inexperienced source, and trust us, the internet is FULL of those. Anyone can get access to the internet, and anyone can create content, so you’re going to need to sift through all of that to get to the good stuff.
How to Best Use YouTube to Educate Yourself?
Do your research
Similarly to Google, you’re going to have to dig through YouTube to find the good stuff. A lot of subscribers, listens, or an enticing thumbnail image does not necessarily relate to the quality or accuracy of the video. Keep this in mind when watching videos, the most popular may not be the best. There are great creators out there that not many people have found, while other creators may be popular for something like makeup tutorials, so one off topic video about cooking they made may a lot of views because of his or her built in audience, not experience or expertise on that topic.
Find your favorites and subscribe
Once you’ve gone through the effort of hunting around YouTube and weeding people out, make sure you catch all of the content from the creator or on the topics that you like by subscribing. This will create a customized feed on your YouTube and save you time and effort.
Engage with your sources
One of the coolest things, (and sometimes one of the worst things) about YouTube is the comments section. While this often can be a place for mean words and internet trolls, for you, it’s a great place to ask questions or learn more about the content you’re digesting. You can also engage with the creators off of YouTube on social media, which you can easily find on their YouTube profiles. If you like something you watch, help reward the creator by liking, subscribing, and/or commenting. Many (honestly, most) people don’t make much money, if any at all, off of their videos, so encouragement helps and helps boost their audience which makes them more marketable for other opportunities.