Z Is for Zoo: #10YearsofYouTube

Every adventure starts somewhere, and this one began on Saturday, April 23, 2005 when "Me at the Zoo" -- captured at California's San Diego Zoo -- became the first video uploaded to a new site no one had ever heard of called "YouTube." It was a simple distillation of the premise of a new platform, where anyone could just turn on a camera and broadcast themselves with ease.

At a mere 19 seconds, its brief runtime and casual setup suggest little of the online video craziness that would follow over the subsequent decade. Little of the incredible creativity we've looked back on throughout this month.

Just like the 50 years worth of video that will be uploaded today likely only give us a glimpse of the amazing things you'll create, capture, and share in the years that follow this one…

-- Kevin Allocca

Y Is for You: #10YearsofYouTube

Y may be the second to last letter in the alphabet, but it represents the most important element of YouTube: You.

Without you, there would be no tiny hamsters eating burritos, no dance evolutions, no epic leaps through the sky. There would be no one to show us what a double rainbow looks like, or how to prancercise. Our hair would be a mess and our most burning questions would go unanswered. Basically, without you, there would be no YouTube.

Over the last 10 years, you have used YouTube to share your lives with billions of people around the globe, changing the way we experience and understand the world around us. Today, you upload 300 hours of video to YouTube every minute, driving hundreds of millions of hours of video watched per day. Last year alone, you clicked “play” more than 2 trillion times - to learn, to have a laugh, to make a change, and often times, to come together to create something new.

Thank you for a decade of putting your own special You in YouTube every day. Click below to see some highlights from the many moments you have shone together on YouTube:

X Is for Xperiments: #10YearsofYouTube

What happens when you mix diet soda, a certain mint candy and some serious science? As more than 40,000 YouTube videos demonstrate, something super awesome.

Since our earliest days, YouTube has served as home-base for the informative, hilarious and downright crazy DIY experiments they didn’t always teach in middle school. Think of it as the Science Fair 2.0. Last month alone, over 515,000 hours of videos featuring the infamous and oft duplicated diet coke and mentos experiment were viewed on YouTube. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Currently, there are over 2.9 million videos tagged with “experiment,” with three of YouTube’s most popular mad scientists - The Slow Mo Guys, Crazy Russian Hacker and Grant Thompson - driving a combined 3.5 million watch hours just last year. That’s a lot of lemon batteries, eggs through bottles, elephant toothpaste, and of course, epic explosions!

But experiments on YouTube aren’t limited to the worlds of chemistry and physics. In recent years, pranksters and sociologists alike have racked up some serious views through thought-provoking and sometimes controversial social experiments played out in the real world. The phenomenon first gained traction in 2013 and has been on the rise ever since. Notable uploads like Dove Real Beauty Sketches and First Kiss have become cultural phenomenons in their own right, with the two earning a combined 165 million views and sparking countless parody videos lampooning the originals. And as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

From science to psychology and beyond, take a look back at some of the most notable experiments in YouTube history.

W Is for Weird and Wonderful: #10YearsofYouTube

YouTube is where weird goes worldwide. Whether it was the mystery of Lonelygirl15 in 2006, the emergence of the Harlem Shake in 2012 or last year's Too Many Cooks, YouTube is the place where one person's idiosyncratic take on the world can be discovered, shared, and celebrated, turning a once-weird happening into something the world embraces.

Case in point: in 2006, videos of a weird phenomenon called “cartridge tilting” began circulating on YouTube. Cartridge tilting causes bugs and glitches in cartridge-based videos games, and Goldeneye was of particular interest. That’s because the glitch in that particular game sometimes caused characters to jerk and convulse in mid-air. At this point, there are about 500 videos on YouTube showcasing the cartridge tilt, totaling just under 5 million views. That’s weird, and we love it.

In 2007, as cartridge tilting was becoming a (niche) “thing,” it also began taking on a new form, as videos of people jumping and shimmying, recreating the glitch, began appearing on YouTube as a meme called “Geddan” or “Get Down.”

From 2008 through 2013, about 3000 videos using the word “geddan” or “ゲッダン” were uploaded to YouTube. Those videos have yielded about 27 million views. Thus, a weird glitch in a video game enjoyed by just a few gave birth to a meme enjoyed by millions.

But that’s not all. Now let’s consider the Super Selfie - Geddan’s stylistic cousin.

In late 2013, Gabriel Valenciano began creating Super Selfie videos, which had a lot in common with Geddan videos -- both sharing the technique of constructing dances from captured frames of video. To date, Gabriel Valenciano has uploaded 35 Super Selfies, which have garnered 11 million views. While Geddan videos averaged 9,000 views per video, Gabriel’s Super Selfies have upped the ante to 300,000 views per video, becoming just big enough for a very important person to take notice.
-- Earnest Pettie

In 2014, for her 7-11 video, Beyonce called upon Super Selfies for inspiration. In fact, she didn’t just call upon Super Selfies, she called upon the man behind them. She invited Gabriel Valenciano to consult on her video, which was essentially a three-and-a-half minute Super Selfie.

Since its release, 7-11 has been viewed over 213 million times. Just like that, the Super Selfie went from being something enjoyed by millions to something embraced by hundreds of millions.

Sometimes it might seem like YouTube is made up of a billion people who are just waiting for that next little bit of weird to come along. But it’s also made up of a billion people who all have a little bit of weirdness just waiting to be shared.

Below, enjoy a few of the most wonderfully weird videos from the first 10 years of YouTube:

-- Earnest Pettie