It’s difficult to remember the Internet before YouTube. It feels like since the dawn of the World Wide Web, YouTube has always been a part of our browsing experiences, bringing us mind-numbing content to alleviate our monotonous lives. I’m thoroughly convinced a well-timed cat video can brighten anyone’s sad day, no matter how tragic.
In 2005, founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, in a small office above a pizzeria, uploaded the first ever video entitled Me at the Zoo to their new site. This video planted the seed for thousands more to cultivate and grow. YouTube began as a simple video sharing website, but has matured into a primary media source with a legitimate content line-up that rivals, and in some cases surpasses, television.
Maturity is the perfect word to personify YouTube’s change since its inception. While its main function is still providing short, entertaining videos to its millions of daily visitors, YouTube also provides educational videos, music, live events and movies. It’s hosted presidential debates and State of the Union addressed. YouTube has created careers for everyday people just doing stupid things around their house – Jenna Marbles, Bo Burnham, Harley Morenstein, Jack Vale, Roman Atwood and Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg a.k.a PewDiePie. They wouldn’t be considered celebrities in the normal sense, however they are what is today referred to as “YouTube famous.” More and more YouTube famous people are becoming more prevalent in popular culture. Many YouTubers use the site as a jumping off point to start comedy, modeling or music careers. The biggest super star on the planet right now – Justin Beiber – would be nothing without YouTube.
Given the fickle nature of internet videos, it’s hard to put together a list of top ones over the past ten years. Here are some of my favorites and some of the most popular videos of all time.
That’s a short trip down memory lane. Fifty years from now, I’m sure our kids’ kids will be as confused about 2015 fads as we are about our grandparents’ popular culture trends. YouTube has added so much to culture, whether for our enjoyment or our attention. YouTube, and the medium of the online video, is very young. I can’t wait to see how it will change the world in the next 10 years.
Happy Birthday, YouTube!