From the minds of those who brought us Paypal and Adobe Flash technology there came an Internet phenomenon which would spawn a new wave of worldwide creativity, countless competitors, and finally, a $1.65 billion dollar payday for its founders upon its sale to Google.
Say hello to Youtube.
2005 doesn't seem that long ago, but can anyone remember the world without Youtube? Youtube was created in 2005, people. And it seems like it was always there.
Today, in the short span of 4 years, Youtube has become a staple of life, drawing those who just want to upload a piece of their life to the world to entrepreneurs looking to make a name for themselves in comedy, news, and music. Youtube has also become a new mode of communication and expression for teenagers, to the bane of their parents. Entertainment companies routinely look to Youtube for new stars, among them David Choi, the Angry Video Game Nerd, Ask a Ninja, and the Barely Political team.
Youtube starts trends and makes celebrities. Or "cewebrities," as they are now known. Music videos that go viral can launch careers. Ask Ok Go, who recently played the MTV movie awards solely on the strength of their immensely popular "Here It Goes Again" Youtube video. LOLCats gained traction on Youtube, and now one may find these books right next to epistles on Aristotle in the local Barnes and Noble.
Most importantly, Youtube makes money. One of the top Youtube acts, Fred, generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad revenue per year. He also parlayed his Youtube success into guest spots on kids TV, and is viewed by millions of people online.
Youtube is not without its share of controversy, however. Though they have implemented a system whereby offensive videos are swiftly removed, to use MySpace as an example, one may safely assume the other shoe will drop soon. Parents decry Youtube as a hub whereby their teens can continually feed into the "look at me" culture, and desensitizes them to the value of modesty. Countries such as China and Thailand have blocked access to Youtube completely because of the ability it gives its citizens to speak their minds and quickly gather support.
Nonetheless, Youtube grows as the Internet grows, and it seems as if we were never without it. Children born today will view it as normal; take it for granted, even. Articles have been and will be written on its ability to serve as a creative forum, news outlet, and money maker for its many and varied content producers.