Celebrating 15 years of YouTube
In February of 2005, a new video platform was introduced to the internet, because a group of friends wanted a way to share videos with their families. YouTube was created, and in less than a year it became one of the fastest growing sites online, with more than 65,000 new uploads.
Today, people can make a living creating content as a ‘YouTuber’ and we can’t go a day without watching something on it. We’re celebrating YouTube’s incredible 15 year anniversary by taking a look back at some iconic moments hosted by the site...
2005: Me At The Zoo
This is where it all began. A 19 second video of YouTube’s Co-Founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo...talking about elephants. Who would have thought this would be the start of a worldwide phenomenon.
2006: Evolution of Dance
Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance video was THE biggest video of 2006. Dancing his way through 32 different songs from different eras became an instant hit and just continued to grow in popularity. It received 70 million views in just under eight months, and even now people are still using this video as inspiration for their own uploads!
2007: Charlie Bit My Finger & Keyboard Cat
With YouTube picking up steam, the content started to become more meme-worthy. People were realising they could get popular through uploads, so started being creative with videos like Keyboard Cat. But funny candid moments still reigned high, with Charlie and his big brother Henry winning the number one spot, and becoming a global sensation.
2008: Star Wars According to a Three Year Old
A cute kid. A world famous franchise. What more could you want from a video? This three year old’s review of Star Wars had the perfect mix of heart string tugs and belly laughs. Perfect!
2009: David After Dentist
David shot to fame in 2009 after his dad filmed his recovery from anesthesia after having a tooth removed. It became such a hit it was parodied in many TV shows like New Girl, Glee, The Cleveland Show and The Simpsons. And, 15 years later, it’s still a staple to quote and has 139 million views. So yes, David, looks like this will be forever…!
2010: Giant Double Rainbow
The start of a new decade and possibly one of the most joyful ones too. Why? Because it’s a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY...obvs! There’s never been a happier man than Paul ‘Bear’ Vasquez when he spotted a huge rainbow in his backyard. And even better, there was ANOTHER rainbow on top of that! A nice reminder to find happiness in the little (or in this case, big?) things...
2011: Nyan Cat & Rebecca Black - Friday
Nyan Cat, an 8bit animation of a cat (with a pop tart for a body, obvs) floating through space to a Japanese vocal-synthesised song became instantly popular for its mix of weird, funny, cute and just plain annoying (in the best way!) style. And let’s not forget Rebecca Black and her music video, Friday. Who knew a day of the week could be so hilarious, so iconic and so cringe-worthy at the same time. Partying partying, yeah!
2012: Gangnam Style
In 2012, South Korean musician Psy made history, when his video for Gangnam Style was the first video ever on YouTube to reach one billion views. It also topped music charts, created a trending dance and didn’t leave anybody’s heads pretty much, well, ever.
2013: Harlem Shake (Original Army Edition)
Things got...weird in 2013, when the viral dance Harlem Shake took over YouTube and all of our lives. What started as a small group of friends in a dorm room dancing around in morph suits quickly grew into crazier and crazier scenes (like Norway’s Army, above). It became a challenge to be bigger, better and shakier than anyone else! What was your favourite?
2014: Mutant Giant Spider Dog
Nothing like dressing your cute pup up in a giant hairy spider to scare the living daylights out of people. And that’s exactly what Sylwester Wardęga did. Cue remote cameras and unsuspecting people carrying out daily chores, and hilarity ensued!
2015: Pizza Rat & Whip/Nae Nae
The Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty. Times Square. What says New York City more? Oh, that's right...it’s a rat with a slice of pizza in the subway. Of course! People couldn’t get enough of Pizza Rat in 2015, and when they weren’t laughing at how relatable the rat was, they were whipping or nae-naeing their days away...
2016: Baby Shark & PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)
2016 was the year of songs that get stuck in your head and never seem to leave. We were introduced to baby, mummy, daddy, grandma and grandpa shark, and shown that seemingly random objects can be put together (by a man in enough animal print to make Carole Baskin jealous) to create something legendary.
2017: Children interrupt BBC interview
Suddenly 2017 has never seemed more relevant to all of us working from home at the moment! This adorable mishap of an interview hit our screens in 2017, and had all of us laughing. From the killer confidence of Professor Robert Kelley’s first child stomping in, to the absolute panic of his wife when child two also appeared. Chaos in its truest and best form!
2018: Yanny vs Laurel
What do you hear? No really. WHAT DO YOU HEAR? First came the dress that was gold. Or was it blue? And then, in 2018, came an audio sensation that started global debates. The science behind it has to do with ambiguous sounds and aural perceptions...but it mainly just sent everyone into a “I can’t believe you CAN’T hear yanny/laurel!!” spiral...
2019: Conspiracy Theories with Shane Dawson
Nowadays, YouTube still has plenty of short form meme-like content, but it’s also become a career making platform, and has extended it’s upload times. People like Shane Dawson made a huge comeback - he’s been on YouTube since 2008, but has been prone to controversy and sways in popularity - with long-form content like Conspiracy Theories and multiple docu-series, creating almost TV-like videos for fans to sit and enjoy.
As this year continues to move in a strange and odd feeling pace, YouTube has definitely become a space for escapism, with lots of YouTubers creating light and funny content to have a break from the influx of coronavirus media. At four months in, what do you think is the best video so far?