YouTube was created in February 2005 by three people. 20 months later, they had made 1.65 billion dollars after selling it to Google. 12 years after the video-sharing service launched, it is now worth around 40 billion dollars.
Why is YouTube worth so much? How has YouTube changed the world?
Their worth is due to many different facets. YouTube emerged as an online power known for its viral videos, such as Never Gonna Give You Up, Sneezing Panda, Afro Ninja, and of course Charlie Bit My Finger. (There are many others, I encourage you to look up all the viral sensations on your own).
YouTube had also allowed for the extremely fast spreading of viral sensations such as Leeroy Jenkins, the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Harlem Shake, the Cinnamon Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge, the Running Man Challenge. Here is an extensive list of viral videos. Other Internet sensations not circulated primarily via YouTube include Netflix and Chill, Nigerian Prince Scheme, Dat Boi, Doge, and The Dress. People (including me) love these Internet sensations, and YouTube has arguably the biggest player in creating viral sensations.
Furthermore, YouTube revolutionized the music industry, allowing many artists to upload their songs and collect profits. If you still trust me, the Korean Pop Song Gangnam Style 강남스타일 is the most viewed video of all time at 2.8 billion views. It was the first to hit a billion views on December 21, 2012. I remember this date fondly because I was watching the video’s view count approach the billion view mark while simultaneously waiting for the world to end. The Internet and YouTube has allowed people to distribute and consume music digitally from their own homes, which has also allowed people to get discovered who would probably not get discovered if not for YouTube, like Justin Bieber (whether you like that or not…). Bieber was discovered on YouTube by a marketing executive and manager after Bieber began posting homemade videos of himself on a local singing competition.
Not only has YouTube revolutionized entertainment, it has revolutionized education. YouTube is full of tutorials, how to videos, and lectures. YouTube has become the platform for the tool to create free education for people around the world. For instance, Salman Khan quit his job to start offering a free education on the web, via YouTube through the ‘Khan Academy’, which offers over 1,400 tutorials, teaching about everything from math and finance, to physics, chemistry and biology.
YouTube also offers a platform to create change in the world. It has given people around the world in which they can post videos to show the world what is going on in their countries, good or bad. There is a plethora of web video activism on YouTube started by non-profit organizations and others to spread the word about something that is important to everyone in the world, such as saving the rainforests or stopping political authoritarianism. YouTube has made the world smaller; it has given us the ability to travel the world with a single click. YouTube allows us to learn about cultures and countries around the world from the actual people who live there. We can discover the world without leaving our living rooms, which is pretty amazing.
What is your favorite aspect of YouTube? If you grew up with YouTube like I did, how do you think your life would have been different if YouTube hadn’t existed? How would you entertain yourself differently?
These are a couple of my favorite YouTube videos.
Too Many Cooks