Doing it yourself: How the internet changed it all
Given the time and knowledge, we’d all love to “do-it-yourself,” and thanks to faster internet, more of us can.
By nature, humans tend to live together and learn from each other.
For a long time, the latter involved finding others that had the required skills and spending enough time with them to learn.
Later, you could possibly find a book or two, then eventually even a helpful rentable video to gain knowledge from, but you still required those books and videos to be physically present somewhere you could get to them.
Until the internet.
The internet has put all kinds of education on demand, allowing you to learn about almost anything you want to in a multitude of ways.
As access to fast broadband has improved and we’ve become more connected with teaching options, the channels through which we can learn have evolved in kind.
It’s a factor powering a do-it-yourself revolution, and whether it’s for fun or function, it’s all in your hands.
Here are some of the ways our more connected world is empowering people to do it themselves.
The power of YouTube
Let’s paint a scene: you’re at home, and the shower begins leaking.
What do you do; call a plumber? It’s the obvious choice, but perhaps you don’t have to. Why pay a tradesperson and wait for them to come out to your house when the issue might simply be a faulty $2 washer?
Alternatively, you could head to YouTube and type your query into the search engine and a number of videos will surface where experts can take you through what could be wrong, how to check, and how to (hopefully!) fix it.
Not only do you save money, but you’ve learned a new skill, improved your knowledge of how showers work and felt your chest swell with pride.
This is just one example of the do-it-yourself explosion powered by video content on the internet.
From learning how to cook, fixing issues with your car, cleaning your pool, building a cubby house for the kids, making stunning art, programming your electronics and so much more, there’s a video for almost everything.
Wi-fi even lets you take your video with you around the house, ensuring help is right by your side if you get stuck.
The internet has empowered a generation of do-it-yourself travellers - the world is our oyster.
Australians can discover desirable locations through searches and social (Instagram in particular), research the best accommodation complete with user reviews, do simple flight comparison deals and even sort out car hire and insurance, all through the net.
You don’t necessarily have to rely on a travel agent anymore and, if you do, chances are you can converse with them over the internet, eliminating the need to travel to them in person and allowing them to quickly send you personal itineraries and other documentation.
With the cloud
The rise of the cloud has opened up the do-it-yourself revolution to new industries. The ability for software to connect in real-time over the internet to remote servers where it can be stored, interacted with or analysed, is quite powerful.
One of the most notable everyday uses for this is the do-it-yourself fitness trainer.
Wearables such as the Fitbit can track your movement via GPS, your activity during a workout, monitor your heartrate and even your sleeping patterns.
This information is stored in the cloud, helping to drive you to hit targets and monitor your progress just as a trainer would.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is do it yourself accounting.
There are a number of cloud based services now that can not only allow for instant invoicing and receipt tracking, but do it from anywhere via a smart device, while exporting BAS statements for direct upload to the ATO.
The internet has also powered more traditional education opportunities.
Home schooling, online tertiary courses, tests and even learning games have become popular with Australians living in remote areas, or trying to fit their education around work commitments.
Webinars have also become a powerful tool for do-it-yourself home education, with high-speed internet allowing for multiple students and a teacher to share a live space.
This enables not just video content, but real-time communication via text, audio or even video.
Using augmented reality
We spoke earlier about how-to videos and how much they have done for the do-it-yourself landscape, but a new revolution is coming.
As the availability of augmented reality technology increases and more developers jump on board, we’re starting to see instructions leap off the screen and into the real world.
An example is the ARmedia 3D tracker app, which looks at your car engine, and then overlays information about what each component is, basically providing a map to get you started.
Starting a business
The do-it-yourself phenomenon has advanced so far on the back of our more connected world that it has extended to entire businesses.
Visual editing software like WordPress has made designing your own website a task no longer reserved for developers.
International distributors like Amazon, Google and iTunes have made it possible to get digital products to anyone, anywhere they have connectivity.
Social networks and services like Google AdWords provide a means of marketing your business and product.
And as we’ve mentioned above, if you fall down in any areas, you can always educate yourself on what to do next. Whether you’re creating jewellery, building a game or making a children’s book, creating a business is something that is now do-it-yourself.
This is all just the beginning, too. As our internet gets faster and we become more connected, the opportunities to learn and apply our knowledge will become closer and closer to real-time, and be less restrictive.
For example, did you know that a Melbourne developer has created an astronaut simulation in virtual reality so you can begin training for life in space now? Sign us up!
There are certainly some exciting prospects in our connected future. Read more about augmented reality, and what it could mean for your lifestyle at home.