For some reason this post, published in the summer, has found a home in the back of my head. The article is titled “YouTube Better at Funny Cat Videos Than Educational Content, Professors Say.” Here is the gist, when you search YouTube for some academic topic you are much more likely to find popular low quality results than high quality professionally made videos.
The speculation and article title immediately bugged me. YouTube, believe it or not, doesn’t create Funny Cat Videos or Educational Content. YouTube provides a platform for Funny Cat Videos and Educational Content. Why does this matter?
There is a new responsibility in this web-driven world we live in today. The quality of the content available online is under our control. The experts, those that have the content experience necessary for the creation of high quality content, have not been producing that high quality content. The number of experienced academics actively engaged in producing content on the web is only a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of academics.
Academics should blog because we need their experience. Not in the use of Facebook or Twitter but in their areas of expertise, no matter how specialized. A lot is made about how the web is often used to discuss the minutiae of our daily lives but it is also readily available to discuss the minutiae of our academic lives. The goal is not to write to everyone, but to write to the ones searching for that content. So next time you find poor content in your area of expertise, do something about it, and stop complaining about the lack of content.