Now I Can Help Myself

Now I Can Help Myself

Louisa Wittke, Inke Arns

Video Tutorials: Altruistic Help or Careers Springboard?

Today, in the age of DIY, the internet video tutorial has become what the German book series Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst (Now I Can Help Myself) once was for the car enthusiast. We can now find instructions and help on virtually all subjects on the internet. »How-To« videos have become a major phenomenon in the DIY culture.
The design of the tutorials ranges from videos made with a Smartphone to semi-professionally produced films. But the main question that’s asked here is why people actually make video tutorials in the first place? Why do they explain to others how something is done – without any (identifiable) reward or even knowing who they’re addressing? Because their internet audience is initially anonymous and abstract. Do the video producers simply want to pass on their knowledge in a selfless act? Are they looking for fame and fortune? Or is it about money after all? The answer to all of these questions is: yes. There is a wide variety of motives: from the selfless desire to pass on knowledge (help for self-help) and promote product placement to video-makers who want to develop their own brand, sell fan merchandise, fill concert halls and suddenly appear on TV as celebrities. Always at hand are their cameras, which apparently allow viewers to be there on the spot. And distinguish them from the perfect, unreachable stars. But how authentic are these video makers really? How important is marketing?
Looking at a number of examples, Inke Arns and Louisa Wittke explain the phenomenon of the video tutorial and the motives of the video makers. The starting point of this section is the exhibition »Now I Can Help Myself« – The 100 best online video tutorials shown by the Hartware MedienKunstVerein 2014. The relevant playlist can be accessed at

In Cooperation with Hartware MedienKunstVerein

Louisa Wittke

Louisa Wittke is an online editor and since 2014 has been a press officer for one of Europe’s biggest online TV channels. Since 2011, she has worked regularly for the IFFF Dortmund+Köln in the press and social media departments. Louisa Wittke lives and works in Cologne.

Inke Arns

Inke Arns is artistic director of Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) in Dortmund ( She has worked as an independent curator and theorist specialising in media art, net cultures and Eastern Europe since 1993, and is author of numerous articles on media art and net culture.