Another dot in the blogosphere?

Selling your knowledge?

Posted on: September 9, 2020

This video reminded me of something I left in the writing corner for a while.


Video source

I watch a lot of YouTube to educate and entertain myself. As a result, I get served many mid and post-roll ads.

To the uninitiated, these are ads that interrupt your watch flow anywhere in the middle and towards the end of the videos. YouTube used to have pre-roll ads — video ads that played before the videos you wanted to watch — but these probably received so much negative feedback that they are all but gone.

The ads pay for the “free” videos, so it it easy to rationalise why they exist. We simply transfer the rationale for ads on TV to streaming video. Unlike TV ads, YouTube videos can be targetted to us based on our preferences and viewing habits. The problem with this is that the ads can have a very coarse aim especially.

For example, I have absolutely no interest in e-commerce, investment schemes, or other money-making ventures. And yet I am bombarded with them. Perhaps the YouTube algorithm thinks that Singapore is occupied only by crazy rich Asians. The only thing I gain from these ads is a fast reflex in exiting the videos completely or hitting the skip ad button when it appears.

These ads have the hallmarks of scams and schemes that benefit only the scammers and schemers. These individuals pose as gurus who promise quick fixes, throw buzzwords about, and speak terrible English. They are also transactional. One of my love-to-hate ads is a call to “sell your knowledge” because e-learning is set to be worth billions in X number of years.

As an educator whose living depends on designing, teaching, facilitating, and evaluating, I am repulsed by such a crude reduction. There is a love and passion for such work that you cannot buy or sell. For me “selling your knowledge” is like putting a price sticker on mothering.

Yes, I get paid to educate others and someone has to put an unappreciatively low number to this form of nurturing. But there is no need to add insult to injury by reducing such a calling to a simple transaction.

A large part of being an educator is sharing and modelling values and attitudes. The reductionist focus on making money is repulsive. Teaching is not a series of transactions where goods are exchanged for money.

I refuse to shrug my shoulders and brush such video segments simply as ads. They are disinformation designed to deceive. I call them out now and will keep doing so any time anyone tries to commoditise the art of educating.

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