A decade or so ago, whenever I was preparing to teach a class in a course that I had already taught a few times, I would always spend time on the Internet, Googling for any new information (in the form of articles, books, or online content) pertaining to the topic I was going to teach about that day.
These days I find that I spend more and more time looking for new information and material on YouTube.
This then made me realize something: instead of just taking material from YouTube and incorporating it into classes, historians should create content for YouTube.
Of course, there already are a lot of videos about the past on YouTube. People upload history documentaries that have aired on TV, and people also upload historical footage, such as this stuff here from British Pathé.
However, I think that there is a space for a different kind of history video, something more in the “shit people say about XXX history” style.
Yesterday I was looking for short videos that could give a sense of what young people in Malaysia and Singapore are like these days, and I came across many videos such as this one on “Shit Malaysian Girlfriends Say”:
This style of video was not invented by the people who made it. Instead, there already exist many “shit XXX say” videos on YouTube, such as this one on “Shit Asian Dads Say.”
What is important, however, is that these videos are popular, and they “communicate” to people today (I certainly like them!!).
And if people don’t like using 4-letter words, there are also the “[number] types of YYY” style of videos, like this one on “11 Types of Singaporean Colleagues”:
These videos are visually appealing, creative and funny. A video that deals with history would probably have to be a bit different, but I think that there are ways that one could create an engaging series of videos based on this style of video to deconstruct various historical topics.
What is more, to do so is no longer difficult or expensive. It just takes some ideas and the desire to put them into action.