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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

When learning new technology, do you first read the manual, or attain your learnings from online video?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30780points) January 3rd, 2014

So you got that new phone, or digital camera for Christmas. How do you learn the feature sets?

Same for other things like software. Are you learning Wordpress, or Photoshop? Do you read the manuals, or watch a video to figure it out?

Ok, this is really about reading vs watching. So if you read to learn, do you read the stock info, or buy a book from a guru expert unaffiliated with the product? Same for video. Do you watch the Adobe approved videos, or the YouTube channel of a Photoshop master (who may show other non adobe products too).

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8 Answers

Juels's avatar

I usually just fiddle around with it. I like the challenge of new technology. If I get stuck, I’ll check out the help section (if one exists) or google for an answer. Almost never use the manual or watch help videos.

tom_g's avatar

I learn by doing. If I get real stuck, I do a google search.

johnpowell's avatar

Generally books to learn new things. I use the book to get around and if specifics are needed I hit up DuckDuckGo. Fuck google.

glacial's avatar

First I fiddle, then I read the manual. The manual is right there, and it’s about my model. Much simpler than trying to find a video that matches my model and is actually good.

So, to answer your question – first hands, then reading, then watching. I find instructional videos kind of annoying; sometimes there’s irrelevant chatter about things I don’t care about (i.e., I often find I want to skip to the halfway point), and the information I do want can be poorly organized.

It’s a lot easier to skim to exactly what I need if I’m reading. And I can see the organization of it all up front – it doesn’t reveal itself to me a second at a time on someone else’s schedule.

flip86's avatar

For electronic devices I hardly ever read manuals. I simply mess around with the settings until I figure it out.

Software and things like Ubuntu I will usually refer to forums and rarely, YouTube. YouTube usually offers little help though because most of the video makers are long winded and a bore.

YouTube is useful for video games though, when you get stuck on a boss or some stupid puzzle.

Berserker's avatar

I just fuck with it for a bit, and when I can’t get anywhere I check out the manual. It’s useless for me to read it first, because I won’t know what buttons/programs/satanic symbols it’s talking about unless I have some kind of half assed assertion of what all is on it. (or if I already have knowledge of the thing through owning/using similar things in the past)
If you tell me to hit this or that program to launch some application, I’ll have no idea how or where to find it unless I’ve come across it while fiddling around. Only when I build a type of quick familiarity with the device/program/voodoo ritual will I be able to better follow the manual or online directions.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’ll always read the manual with device in hand or nearby so I can follow along.

And David Pogue writes some of the best stuff in Apple products (since they’re rather famous for not including manuals (or the bare minimum of one.) I’ll buy one of his books any day of the week.

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