To see what's out there, I recently evaluated exposure videos on YouTube and concluded that there's little to worry about. The majority of the exposure videos fell far short of being dangerous for a number of reasons that I'll explain.
For this exercise, I looked-up tricks that are well known to the lay public. I'm not going to name the tricks here because I don't want to promote the videos. Also, note that in this story, I'm focusing on YouTube videos and not the topic of illegal copying and downloading of video, an entire different issue.
First off, to expose a magic trick, you have to be able to do it well to show what it looks like. Most of the exposure videos feature individuals who show little to no technical competence or experience with the tricks. As all magicians know, there's a huge difference between understanding a magic secret and being able to convincingly perform the related trick.
The technique is so poor in many of the exposure videos, I think that someone searching for a secret, in many cases, will think that the secret is for a simpler or different trick.
In online exposure videos, there's little or no attempt to make the effect entertaining. This is no surprise as the person exposing the trick has no investment in the technique, method or prop.
As a result, watch most videos that promise to expose the secret of some magic classic, and you'll find videos that are pure tedium to sit through and have no entertainment value. Perhaps even worse than exposing a trick's secret is to make the trick boring. And who cares about the secret to a boring trick?
I deplore the old and incorrect adage, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach," when applied to the teaching profession. However, this adage is undeniably correct when applied to those who attempt to expose magic tricks.
Clear and Present Danger?
I'm not saying that online exposure videos are no danger to magic. There are a few videos that I came across that are rather devastating, but most of these were from television shows (probably copyright infringements), not from the masses of amateur videos. As we've learned from previous magic exposure, the revealing of secrets is far more devastating when it comes from within our own ranks.
Our art of magic will always deal with exposure. For now, I'm convinced that online exposure is no more of a threat than anything in the past.