While doing some social media research the other day, I came across a most unusual find. Not unusual in the sense that it was freakishly strange, just something kind of surprising. I’m talking about the first video ever posted on YouTube.
Pretty much every person who spends even a millisecond online has heard of YouTube. It’s the largest free online video-sharing website on the planet, housing countless clips of people falling on their faces, music videos, babies biting fingers and cats. Millions and millions of cats. It’s also the same video-sharing website Google purchased for $1.6 billion (yes, that’s billion, with a “B”), back in 2006. Not too bad for a company that only launched 21 months prior.
With such a wide variety of videos uploaded, and such a broad reach into our daily lives, you would think the first video posted on YouTube would be some crazy, off-the-wall, zany clip with billions of views. Something all other videos strive to be. But the first video posted on YouTube is actually mundane, low-key and borderline boring with (at the time of writing) only about 5.7 million views.
Titled “Me at the Zoo,” the first YouTube clip was uploaded April 23, 2005 by Jawed Karim, one of YouTube’s founders. This 18-second clip shows Jawed talking about elephants at the San Diego Zoo. So, without further ado, here, in all its lackluster glory, is the first video ever posted on YouTube:
What this video may lack in substance, style, entertainment or length, it more than makes up for in “pioneering-ness” (that’s a word, right?). This humble video blazed an online trail that every other video posted since will follow. Without Me at the Zoo, there would be no Chocolate Rain, Charlie Bit My Finger, Evolution of Dance, or cats. Millions and millions of cats.