For my first blog post, I was thinking about the information age, its availability to us and if all this virtual knowledge is a good thing. For me, I like having the availability of YouTube to teach me how to do something. But I’m often skeptical and careful of what I read and watch. With each passing day, videos are uploaded on a multitude of topics. From a seemingly limitless amount of guitar method, performance, opinion and product review uploads, the “how-to” selections are what should concern all of us. Do you think it’s wise to learn something like swimming or nasal surgery from watching Youtube? I would doubt it. And what if the OP is wrong….ugh! With that being said, there are many great and helpful videos from educated experts who want to help and can. However, I continue to see well-intentioned individuals post wrong information and methodology. It sure would suck trying to fix something from knowledge gained while watching a video with incorrect information. It’s frustrating and can be very expensive if you screw up.
For the hell of it, let’s say you’re a newbie to the world of Professional Audio Rental. You’ve spent a scary amount of money on some Sound System gear for your startup and are busy getting busy. While your sales, marketing and technical chops have garnered some business to start, you know that care & feeding along with maintenance & repair of this gear will be necessary. Like most of us, you want to save money in this area and hope to do any necessary repairs in-house. But…. you only know enough to get you in deeper crap, so you turn to YouTube for a solution. This decision makes sense. I do it all the time. In fact, the creation of the site, learning how to build it and so on made me question much about what I found in how-to videos. What if this so-called expert is wrong? Could I be wasting my time? What if I F-up this repair because I was misinformed by some has-been with no clue (but his video is cool, and has a ton of views).
Last week a former employee called, said he has an audio mixer with a rotary volume control (potentiometer) that was producing audible scratchy noises. Relying on experience,
he knew the simple fix was a spray cleaner of some type. But which one? He went to YouTube, searched his product model and question, then called me saying “There are a bunch of videos on this topic. Some contradict each other and I need a little advice”. He was leaning towards spraying this component with WD-40…. WRONG!! Based on my more than 30 years of experience, the answer was simple. But for him and for many others, it’s frustrating to think that you may make the original problem worse by implementing the wrong advise. In his scenario, a simple spray electronics contact cleaner is recommended.
So what’s the answer to all of this misinformation? Well, its difficult to say. There are no internet Technical Police to filter the wrong info. Sadly, if you hope to attempt these repairs yourself, it’s on you to know when to reach out to an expert for direction and answers or when to find a trained and qualified repair person. Don’t assume that everything you see or read is correct. Like they say “if it’s on the internet, it must be true”. Well, most of us know that phrase is complete BS (look at all the deliberate misinformation that was produced during the last election and placed on social media). Lots of homework is the best lesson here. Question the teacher and learn all you can. These videos can be a fantastic solution to so many things but be smart about it.
Lastly, don’t be foolish and attempt a repair of an electronic product without proper training. Doing so will most likely void your product’s warranty and make problems worse, or you could be injured. Be safe..!