There’s an interesting forum post over at HTLAL, asking, “Were YouTube polyglots a fad?” The poster goes on to say:
I wonder now if the YouTube polyglot was a bit of a fad. That in truth there’s only so many different and totally distinct approaches to self-study and once you’ve understood the general process, there’s no urgent need for you to watch masses of videos of people speaking many languages! What do you think?
I would agree that it was a sort of fad, and the explanation given above is why. People only need to be told the basic steps of learning a language so many times, whether it’s in video format or otherwise. Granted, though, that’s not to say I don’t still occasionally watch a polyglot on YouTube, but when I do, it’s mostly because I like the person speaking, not because I think I’m going to hear anything groundbreaking. Steve Kaufmann comes to mind here; I enjoy his enthusiasm, even if I don’t agree entirely with his methodologies.
It’s neat to be able to see fellow language learners rattle off things in a bunch of languages, but ultimately, it’s not very helpful for learners – listening to a native material would be a better use of your time.