Using YouTube for Finding Things Other Than Lolcats

“A music video with treadmills? Brilliant!”

That was mine, and probably millions of other YouTubers direct responses to the genius that was the video for OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” music video. Essentially, the members of the band OK Go created a music video and dance routine involving a total of 8 treadmills.

The result? The video received well over 50 million views and a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.

But that video, along with other viral hits like “Charlie Bit My Finger”, “David After Dentist” and others, are just the silly things available on YouTube. They’re great for entertainment, but offer little beyond serving just as brief distractions.

So then, beyond being simply a channel for entertainment, what sort of significant value does YouTube have, if any?

Surprisingly, a lot. And in some ways, it can even be more valuable than Google itself. How? Here are a few:

1. Search Results Aren’t As Cluttered

Search social media marketing tips in Google. In fact, let me do that for you. Now, do that same search in YouTube. Odds are, you’ll find something far more relevant to what you were interested in finding on YouTube than you will on Google. Why is that? Because YouTube isn’t filled with the same amount of clutter as Google. In YouTube, you’re only searching for videos that people have made on social media marketing. Whereas on Google, you’ll probably find pages on social media consultants, social media campaigns and tons of other information. Because YouTube is more about coming up with solutions to the questions that people might be asking, it tends to be far less cluttered by spam.

2. Videos Are Far More Interesting Than Texts

Funny, witty, entertaining, educational — regardless of what word you most associate with videos, good videos typically carry an overwhelmingly positive association along with them. As humans, we like visually stimulating content. Afterall, would you rather learn about Google+ by reading a dull article or by watching a hilarious video?

Whether you are trying to teach someone how to use a particular program, show them an entertaining cat video or simply prove a point, videos grant you a far more intriguing medium with which to educate others.

3. Videos Are A More Viable Approach Towards Learning

One of the best aspects I’ve found about YouTube is that it contains tons of extremely useful hands-on videos for various programs and applications. Whether it’s WordPress, Photoshop or even something more basic like Powerpoint, YouTube probably has, in some shape or form, what you’re looking for.

Try learning the ins and outs of Photoshop without actually using the software. Yes, you can read a guide over and over until your eyes bleed, but it probably won’t resonate when it comes to utilizing the software until you truly get your hands on it. For that, YouTube shows you what to do. They grant you a hands on approach towards learning and actually engaging with programs, and teach you how to replicate, exactly, what’s occurring on the screen.

You could just as easily search using Google video but — in much the same way that Google search does — that just opens the floodgates for more clutter from various video hosting websites around the web.

But still, YouTube will never be a perfect alternative to Google simply because there are only so many scenarios in which videos will ultimately be useful.

What are your favorite YouTube utilities?