"The cool thing about elephants is that they have really long trunks, and that's pretty much all there is to say." - Jawed Karim
That statement may not seem so profound out of context, but they were the first words ever transmitted via video on YouTube, nine years ago today, April 23, 2005.
From its humble beginnings as one video that waxes so un-poetically on the coolness of elephants, YouTube has grown to the third most visited website in the world. It has become the launching point for new ideas, artists, and careers; a Google-owned entity that has made its owners, and many of its more popular users, wealthy beyond their wildest imaginations.
But amongst the philosophical ideals, the cool new music videos, and emotional diatribes that capture our heartstrings and stir our spirits, lies a bunch of useless, pointless videos. Sure, some may make us laugh and serve some purpose there, but out of the over 1,000,000,000 videos that exist on YouTube, most just simply exist because they can.
But there are a few, the one in every million-or-so productions, that have served a great purpose on the Internet; that have changed the way we view video production, the way we use the web, and the way we think about the world.
From "Noah Takes a Photo Every Day for 6 Years" to "Nyan Cat 10 Hours", some videos just stand out more than others, and have made a significant impact in marketing, digital media, and our lives.
And it's these "game changers" that we celebrate today.
Make no mistake about it, this list is not the top-10 videos that have had a major sociological or life-changing impact. Rather, it is a compilation of 10 videos that have changed the way we think about or use the Internet. And, for that, no matter how silly they may seem, their impact is significant.
Listed, for your viewing pleasure, are the 10 YouTube videos that changed the Internet forever.
"Me at the Zoo"
For obvious reasons, the video that started it all, "Me At The Zoo", tops the list. As simple as the premise was, he loves elephants, this video changed the way we viewed online content forever.
"Charlie Bit My Finger"
Perhaps the most popular, and unarguably the cutest, video of all time, "Charlie Bit My Finger" sparked the "cute kids of YouTube" trend and led to a whole mess of parents embarrassing their children on the Internet.
Just a guy singing a song that he loves, for all the world to see. This video makes the list, as it was one of the first ever videos to go "viral". Within days, the video had spread like a virus, and all of the Internet was talking about this.
"Brookers", as she is called on YouTube, makes the list as the first ever "YouTube" personality. Someone who used the platform to gain fame and popularity on the Internet.
"The Evolution of Dance"
"The Evolution of Dance" is one of the most classic videos in YouTube history. An early adapter, this video continues to inspire "spinoffs" and has remained a trending formula for viral videos to this day.
"Scrybe: Simply Unbelievable" makes the list as the first ever product demonstration video on YouTube. Nowadays, for companies and personalities, a YouTube presence is a must, but back in 2006, it took some forward thinking to market your company on the relatively unknown platform.
"Unboxing the Nokia E61"
Along the same lines as Scrybe, relatively unknown company "Unbox.IT" posted a video unpacking a product on YouTube. Unbeknownst to them, they started a trend called "unboxing" that, to this day, dominates YouTube.
YouTube has been posting prank videos on April 1 of each year since their inception, but none has changed the way we think before opening links or emails quite like the infamous "RickRoll".
"Nylan Cat 10 Hours"
There's nothing special about "Nylan Cat 10 Hours". Nothing at all. It's annoying, actually. But it's posting marked a new era in YouTube sharing, the "10 hour video". From this day forward, content we created could be longer, paving the way for young independent filmmakers and documentarians.
"Noah Takes a Photo Every Day for 6 Years"
From the choice of song, to the dramatic changes over six years of his life, "Noah Takes a Photo Every Day for 6 Years" demonstrated the beauty of time-lapse photography in video and allowed the viewer to take a more introspective look into aging and life. Before this video, most content to YouTube was rather superficial, but Noah's video showed us that the medium can be used for inspiration and thought, as well.