Seven years ago Monday, YouTube loaded its first video, the 19-second “Me At the Zoo.”
The video, which features YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, was uploaded by employee Yakov Lapitsky on this date in 2005. Aesthetically, it’s nothing special: Lapisky merely notes that elephants have “really, really long trunks, and that’s cool.”
Technologically, though, the video paved the way for the current phenomenon that is YouTube. Since that first video loaded, the site has housed far more video content than any other location in human history. Here are some recent stats from the company, now a unit of Google:
- 60 hours of video are upladed every minute; one hour of video is uploaded every second.
- More than 4 billion videos are viewed every day.
- More than 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.
- More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major U.S. networks created in 60 years.
- In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or almost 140 views for every person on earth.
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Ah, there’s something about Gary Brolsma’s break-out web cam performance lip syncing and dancing to Moldovan pop music that one just can’t turn away from. Numa Numa was an instant viral hit when it was released and it has been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube alone (not counting duplicates).
While the star of this video claims that it ruined his life, it’s hard not to chuckle at the Star Wars kid and his passionate Jedi moves. The clip was an undeniable viral sensation, prompting numerous remixes, including the one next that impressively adds glowing lightsaber special effects.
Judson Laipply’s comedic interpretive dance classic the “Evolution of Dance” is one of the few videos on YouTube in the exclusive 100 million views club. The video still gets comments round the clock.
William Hung was the original terrible singer on “American Idol.” His ear melting performance of “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin truly opened the door for hundreds of other people who can’t sing to audition for the show, and it brought him a whirlwind 15 minutes of fame that had videos of his singing popping up and being remixed all over the Internet.
Yes, it is only 5 seconds, but it is 5 seconds of some of the best prairie dog acting every caught on film… er, or something like that. Honestly, the dramatic prairie dog is one of the most amusing, if shortest, video clips in web history, and one that has been viewed millions of times and remixed over and over again.
Star Wars summarized by an adorable 3 year old girl is one of the cutest and most hilarious things you’ll ever watch. Guaranteed. Just remember: “the shiny guy always worries.”
Brilliantly edited, this is actually a remix of a previous viral video that caught two cats apparently engrossed in conversation. This is what they’re saying if your cat-to-English translator is switched on, but also check out the equally hilarious original next.
One of the most popular animal videos of all time, the sneezing baby panda proves two things: baby bears are cute, and baby bears with the sniffles are adorably hilarious. The mother panda’s surprised reaction to her baby’s olfactory explosion is really what gives this video staying power, though.
Cute babies doing even cuter things — they’re YouTube comedy gold. This one of a baby who alternates (seemingly when asked) between an ultra serious expression and fits of giggling made its way to YouTube in 2007 and has since racked up tens of millions of views. Of course, if you’re tickled by baby laughs, the “Hahaha” kid is still the master.
It’s doubtful that Tay Zonday ever meant for his song “Chocolate Rain” to be labeled a comedy — and actually, it’s not a bad song — but the combination of his unexpectedly deep voice, goofy movements, and at times bizarre lyrics make it hard not to laugh while watching this one. Still, whatever the reason, “Chocolate Rain” is a bonafide viral video smash hit.
Unlike the rest of the clips on this list, this one was actually produced and edited with the intention of making a joke and getting laughs. Still, there are numerous fake or fan-made video trailers on YouTube, and this one, which re-imagines the classic Stephen King horror flick The Shining as a light-hearted comedy, is brilliantly done. (Equally well-done is the fan-made Mary Poppins trailer that turns the classic kids film into a horror movie.)
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