Exactly ten years today, the first video was uploaded to what would become the most important video platform of the new millennium: YouTube. It was called "Me at the Zoo," by user Jawed, and it's only 18 seconds long (remember people, there was no iPhone back in the day), in which a young man explains how elephants have really, really, really long trunks. The video has now close to 20 million views and interestingly 12,031 dislikes - maybe some people just don't like zoos.
This marked the beginning of a new era (even though some media celebrated the inception back in February, but the company told me that was not accurate). #Google bought YouTube 18 months later for $1.65.
According to the company, there are now over 1 billion users on YouTube that upload 300 hours of video per minute in 75 countries and 61 languages. The video-sharing website is particularly popular with the younger generation, dubbed millennials, and a swarm of new celebrities emerged in this medium. YouTube became exactly what the name says: a self-publication, self-expression tool, that contributed to real change in the world. Here are some amazing moments from its early years:
In June 2006, 16-year-old Bree started to vlog from her bedroom about the boring stuff in her life and the audience loved it. Her candour, her beauty, her realness. Except it was all scripted, her name was Jessica and she was 19. It was a fictional series, but the creators failed to mention that in the beginning. Mind = blown.
It's kind of creepy to watch someone get older at the speed of light, but that's what Noah Kalina did with his project "everyday", which showed a picture of him (we didn't call them selfies back then) for six years. It was uploaded on August 2006 and showed thousands of pictures from January 2000 to July 2006. The video has over 26 million views, and Noah actually posted a second one, in 2013, with 12 years of ageing.
3. Leave Britney ALONE!
It was the ides of 2007 and Britney had gone on what seemed a crazy rampage, shaving her hair and acting bizarre. Her fan Chris Crocker uploaded a heartfelt video in which he cried a lot and screamed even more, telling people to leave Britney alone. It became viral in a time when no one said it was viral, and amassed almost 50 million views. Chris Crocker is a celebrity of sorts now, has his own music and can be booked for events.
4. Justin singing So Sick by Ne-yo
Yes, we're going there - in January 2007, a Canadian teen started making waves with his covers on YouTube, leading him to worldwide stardom, lots of tattoos and a horde of Beliebers. Justin Bieber started right there on YouTube, and this was his first video.
5.Message to Scientology
Anonymous, the hacktivist group, made their first very public appearance with a two-minute video threatening Scientology. It was back in 2008, before all the backlash started from ex-members and very much before Alex Gibney's controversial documentary. "Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye," Anonymous wrote. They vowed to destroy the church. One recent comment reads: "7 years later and the once untouchable giant is bleeding from more wounds than it can stop, and all its critique immunity is history. Feels good to have been a part of that." #Film