YouTube first went online Valentine’s Day of 2005. Chad Hurly, Steven Chen, and Jawed Karim originally intended for their website to be a dating service. However, it quickly failed. After the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson half-time show (above), the creators realized that they couldn’t easily find any recordings online. Having a website already set up with strong video uploading and sharing abilities, it was easy for them to adjust its purpose. And so, on April 23, 2005, the first video, titled Me at the Zoo (above) was uploaded to the website, and YouTube as we know it was born. Within a year and a half, YouTube had become so popular, it was purchased by Google. By the end of 2007, YouTube had grown to the point of consuming the same amount of bandwidth as the entire internet had in 2000. It has continued to grow and evolve since then (below), now encompassing the various pages I displayed last week and more, as well as its own tv channel (YouTubeTV) and a website specialized for children (YouTubeKids).
Various milestones throughout YouTube’s history involve FRED being the first channel to have 1 million subscribers, Smosh being the first channel to 10 million subscribers, as well as the first channel to be the most-subscribed channel three times, and T-Series being the first channel to reach 200 million subscribers (above). In 2012, Gangnam Style by Psy (below) became the first video to break 1 billion views, Baby Shark currently has the most views overall, with 10.77 billion (below).
My role in YouTube’s history has been very passive, acting as nothing more than an observer. However, being on YouTube from the first year, having been a subscriber to FRED and Smosh, and having seen Gangnam Style and Baby Shark, I have been a part of helping these milestones in being reached and making YouTube the powerhouse that it is. In return, my social and entertainment life has maintained a firm enmeshment with YouTube. I believe I can confidently say that I would probably be a different person today if it weren’t for YouTube’s role in my life.