Educational TV Works!

Every once in a while, my kids will suddenly blurt out a random factoid that sounds like it came out of thin air. And when I ask where they learned that little tidbit, one of them usually fires back with a famous Malooney phrase: “Educational TV works!”

Well, I can’t say I usually buy the line, but in my pursuit of learning, I have discovered that in some cases, their theory does hold some water.

Today I was trying to learn how to digitally archive a newsletter I wrote. I use ConstantContact to create all of my client newsletters. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t one of their longest-standing users. I’ve pumped out a few hundred newsletters with this program. So imagine my surprise when one of my readers replied to my most recent distribution with the following note:

“If you click on the options of sharing and archiving on your newsletter before you schedule it to send people will be able to click share on the bottom of your letter and it will pull up MANY options for them to share the link.”

I was floored. I swore I knew everything there was to know about this system. And then someone comes out of no where and tells me something I never knew.

But worse yet, after spending about 10 minutes in the system, scrolling through all the tabs, I literally couldn’t figure out how to make it happen.

Then it came to me: educational TV.

Sure enough, after just a few seconds of searching online, I found a quick “how to” video, walking me through the (embarrassingly simple) steps for archiving and sharing my newsletter. The whole video was about eight minutes long; I took about three minutes scrolling through it, grasped what I needed, and a few minutes later my newsletter had its own URL, and a sharing feed so I could post it on Twitter, Facebook, Digg – wherever I wanted.

I’m astonished at the endless array of videos available to us today. If I want to learn how to create a mask on Photoshop or shoot stunning children’s portraits– there’s a video for that. Trying to create a french knot on my embroidery? Yup, here’s a streaming example. I could build a potato gun all by myself with this guy’s help. When I want to sound intelligent at a cocktail party, I don’t flip on my TiVo; I turn to Ted. (And then I emerge from the computer’s glow three hours later, having been caught in Ted’s compelling pull!) And of course, I can cook like a gourmand by following one of the hundreds (thousands?) of brilliant chefs who host their own online cooking shows.

This is an exciting time to be alive, if you have a passion for learning. Of course, if you want to learn how to sleep when all of these great possibilities for learning await you? Well …


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