Friday, 23 April 2010

YouTube 5th anniversary - how it's changed everything + some of my favourite videos

Today is the fifth anniversary of YouTube! On 23rd April 2005. Called 'me at the Zoo' was the first video posted to the site it features Yakov Lapitsky at San Diego Zoo revealing a profound truth about elephants.....

Over the following five years YouTube has exploded, so much so that latest figures show that over 24 hours of video is being uploaded to YouTube every minute!

There have been innumerable mainstream media references to the site - it really is hard to believe that YouTube has only been around for 5 years. YouTube fundamentally changed content on the web and, more than any other platform, YouTube drove the idea of UGC.

YouTube, and user success stories, really drove home the idea that publishing is not limited to the well funded traditional publishing elite. People sitting at their bedroom computers could make content that out performed the productions of mainstream media and professional ad agencies - and new stars like the Numa Numa Guy, Obama Girl and Fred have been born as a result.

Anarchy has reigned as users mashed up, remixed and re-appropriated professional content giving it new meaning and relevance depending on who it was aimed at. Most of all YouTube has changed long standing ideas of what creative should look like. Big, dramatic, moody films do not sit well in this space. YouTube is a place where humour, surprise and randomness rule - and the big publishers and creative shops have had to adapt their approach to content accordingly.......

To commemorate the anniversary of the first YouTube video I thought I would post some personal 'highlights' here. Everyone has a YouTube favourite, from dogs on skateboards to piano playing cats to laughing babies, none of those here but I hope you enjoy some of the clips I have appreciated over the last few years!

1) British Army in Iraq - 'Is This The Way To Amarillo?'

In 2005 troops in the Royal Dragoon Guards shot a video at their Al Faw base (Iraq) miming along to the Tony Christie (Peter Kay) song. They e-mailed it to Army friends in London, but it quickly went viral and the Ministry of Defence server crashed because so many tried to download it! After being uploaded to YouTube it continued to spread.....

2) Calm Down Dear! REMIX

Around 2004-2005 Insurance company E-Sure became prominent after Michael Winner wrote and starred in TV ads featuring the legendary phrase 'Calm Down Dear!' When YouTube users got hold of it, this happened:

3) Cadbury Gorilla mashups

In 2007 Cadbury released a TV ad with a Gorilla playing the drums to Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight.' The response online showed how a broadcast TV ad can become a piece of branded content when it moves onto a social platform like YouTube. Not only were users sharing the original, but YouTube users were showing their creativity by producing endless remixes, mashups and re-interpretations (Cadbury even re-ran the ad the following year, changing the soundtrack to make it match one of the more popular re-interpretations) - my personal favourite is this one:

4) Literal music videos

It's not just ads that get remixed. YouTube users have also managed to breathe life into old songs by re-making the tracks with accompanying 'literal videos'. The largest view count is against this re-make of 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart':

5) Feature film re-edits

YouTube user film re-edits have created a raft of new content. Using the original film as a base, YouTube users have created new stories (that they have produced themselves), re-enactments using things like Lego and humourous clips and parodies. One of the most featured movies is Star Wars and Star Wars+YouTube=hours of fun for fans. This clip of 'Darth Vader Being A Smart Ass' is one of the most popular:

In 5 years YouTube has grown from nothing to a service that gets 24 hours of content uploaded to it every minute. I can't imagine how much content will be on there by 2015!

Feel free to leave links to your favourites in the comments.....

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Commentbug, Blogger Layouts said...

happy friday, love the blog

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Pablo Edwards said...

Great videos! I am constantly shocked at how big of role Youtube has played in this world. I use it so often. Thanks for the post, these videos are getting passed along!