Do It Yourself Videos: Why do so many share so much?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Do It Yourself Videos

A Note from Dr. Wayne Baker: This week, please welcome back the popular OurValues columnist Terry Gallagher. Thanks, Terry!

Do It Yourself YouTube video on repairing a Toro lawn mowerA few weeks ago, when the grass was ankle-high, my lawnmower wouldn’t start.

It’s a hand-me-down, a gift from a neighbor who got a better hand-me-down when his folks moved into a condo. So it’s plenty old, and was becoming more balky every time I used it, before stopping altogether.

I’m not a particularly handy person, but I started poking around on the web, and found dozens of homemade videos showing how to de-gunk the carburetor on 1970s-era lawn mowers. After a half-hour on YouTube and another one in the driveway, and with $15 spent on an air filter and a spark plug, I’m back in business.

So while saying a silent thanks to the folks who made those videos, I started wondering about the impulse that leads people to create so much useful material and give it away to the whole world for free.

It’s a subject I’ve written about here before, including a post about Sheldon Brown, the creator of a comprehensive guide on how to maintain classic bicycles. Although the site eventually brought a lot of business into the shop where he worked, Brown created it as a labor of love, a gift he gave away without thought of profit.

The guys who made the videos I watched didn’t make a cent off of me, though I certainly saved a few bucks by taking their advice.

But you have to wonder: what’s in it for them?

What motivates people to share their expertise so widely, for free?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: You can read more than 100 of Terry Gallagher’s past columns by clicking on this link. And Please, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Series NavigationDo It Yourself Videos: Want to whistle with your fingers? Fillet a pike? >>