As if setting the tone for what was to come, the first ever video uploaded onto YouTube — which happened seven years ago today — is a rather nondescript affair, with one of the site’s founders talking tongue-in-cheek about some elephants plodding aimlessly about at San Diego Zoo.
The video, entitled ‘Me at the zoo’, lasts 19 seconds and features YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim explaining that the plodding beasts behind him are pretty cool because they have “really, really, really long trunks.” Look into Karim’s eyes and think ‘He doesn’t know how his life is about to change.’ Look into the eyes of those elephants too, as they didn’t know either.
Yes, it was April 23, 2005, when YouTube comprised just a single video and no hits. My word, how things have changed. Today 60 hours of video are uploaded every single minute, though thankfully not all of elephants plodding aimlessly about at San Diego Zoo.
More than four billion videos are viewed each day — compare that to a paltry eight million in December 2005 — and over 800 million unique users visit the site every month. While Karim’s video of the elephants has up to now received a respectable 7.5 million views, the current most viewed video is a Justin Bieber effort (not taken at San Diego Zoo), which has received a bandwidth-busting 729 million views.
Started by Karim and two friends — Chad Hurley and Steve Chen — YouTube has since been snapped up by Google. It’s grown enormously in its short life, with more video uploaded to the site in a single month than the three major US networks have created in 60 years of TV production.
While many uploads to the site still fall into the non-sensical-but-amusing amateur video category — think talking dogs and annoying oranges — YouTube has since inked a number of deals with major companies and now includes full-length feature films, TV shows and live streaming of selected major events. This year sees the video-sharing service expanding its current channel line-up with a mass of originally produced content.
We wonder how it’ll all be looking in another seven years….