BY MATT HOWELL
It has become such an integral part of our daily routine that it’s hard to imagine life without it, and next month, it turns 10.
YouTube was started in 2005 by three former PayPal employees in San Francisco, Calif., beginning as a venture-funded technology startup. The initial idea for it came after Jawed Karim could not easily find clips for two very different events; the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl performance, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005. It was titled Me at The Zoo, and showed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. That video can still be viewed today.
The official launch took place in November 2005, and by July 2006, the company stated that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day, and that the site was receiving 100 million video views a day. Compare that with the four billion video views a day that YouTube reported taking place in 2012, and the increase is staggering.
Music videos, people falling, dogs doing cute things and police brutality can all be found on YouTube. It entertains, but it has also become a vital tool for experiencing what’s happening around the world. The recent Ferguson, Mo. riots is a great example of civilian journalism where anyone with a smartphone can capture video of what is taking place at any given moment, and then share it instantly.
Chris Martin, a second-year public relations student, uses YouTube on a daily basis.
“I typically use YouTube for music. Aside from that it’s just the standard of checking out the week’s viral videos,” Martin said.
Bridget Caskenette, a mother of two young boys aged one and five, spends her downtime like many of us enjoying the realm of YouTube.
“I usually waste countless hours watching a variety of videos from music, to Top 10 fact lists, to drunk people falling down. It’s an easy escape from reality to explore further and further into the strange people and talents you’ll find on YouTube,” Caskenette said.
Besides being entertaining, YouTube has also become an essential promotional tool for artists of all walks of life. Bands can post live performances or homemade music videos to get their music out to the masses without being part of a record label. Filmmakers can post short movies they have created which can then be seen by producers looking for indie directors.
On a deeper level, YouTube has brought the struggles of the world to our screens. Videos of terrible situations and experiences have been caught and thrown online for anyone to see. Its immediacy is vital in showing what some parts of the world are going through. Revolutions, warfare and oppression are being seen and shared with the rest of us.
Martin also sees it as a fundamental tool to show what varying parts of the world go through.
“It could have been largely responsible for the Arab spring revolutions that took place a few years ago. People in oppressed states finally had a first time live look at how the rest of us live our lives,” Martin said.
Whether the use of YouTube is for entertainment or to highlight aspects of human nature, it has brought us all a little closer by getting us to see something through a different set of eyes.
BY MATT HOWELL