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What was the first-ever YouTube video? A look-back

The first-ever YouTube video will see its 16th anniversary later this month.
The first-ever YouTube video will see its 16th anniversary later this month.

The first video on the Google-owned online video sharing platform YouTube was uploaded back on 23 April 2005.

Steve Chan, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley were PayPal employees who left the company after it was bought by global giant Ebay back in 2002. The three went on to develop the idea of YouTube in the early months of 2005, and had made the domain live by February.

Today, more than a billion hours of YouTube content is watched on a daily basis. The platform is the second most-visited site in the world, right after Google. This article looks back at the first ever video that was uploaded to YouTube, as it fast approaches the completion of its 16th year of existence.


“Me at the zoo:” The first video ever uploaded to YouTube

Perhaps fittingly, the first video ever uploaded to YouTube features one of the co-founders of the platform in Jawed Karim. Karim uploaded a 19-second clip titled “Me at the Zoo” on 23 April, 2015, and the video can still be viewed on YouTube. It shows the YouTube co-founder standing in front of an elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo in California, US.

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“Alright, so here we are, in front of the elephants. The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long trunks, and that’s, that’s cool. And that’s pretty much all there is to say.”

As can be seen, the clip shows Jawed Karim talking about elephants’ trunks. The YouTube co-founder appears entirely unaware of the fact that YouTube was well on its way to becoming the single biggest online-video sharing platform in the world.

Karim’s YouTube channel is under the username “Jawed,” and till date has only one video. Today, YouTube has become the second-most used social media platform in the world after Facebook. More than 40% of the total traffic comes from mobile devices, with YouTube registering more than 2 billion monthly active viewers regularly.

Image via Jawed, YouTube
Image via Jawed, YouTube
Image via Jawed, YouTube
Image via Jawed, YouTube
Image via Jawed, YouTube
Image via Jawed, YouTube

“Me at the zoo” has until now received almost 161 million views, making it one of the highest watched videos on YouTube. 23 April 2021 will mark 16 years since the video was uploaded to the platform. The clip is still regularly viewed on the platform, with innumerable fans commenting about the historical aspects of the upload, as can be seen.

Edited by Gautham Balaji
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