It might seem now that YouTube has been around forever, but it’s actually just celebrating its 17th birthday. The very first YouTube video called “Me at the Zoo”, was uploaded on April 23rd, 2005.
The 19-second clip uploaded by user Jawed, is of a young man standing in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo as he says into the camera “All right, so here we are in front of the elephants. The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really long trunks.” No one could have seen the future that YouTube had in front of it or the millions of more interesting videos the site would host over the next 17 years.
YouTube users can now find directions from other users on how to do just about anything from car repair to makeup and hairstyle tips.
It’s also made celebrities out of regular people like the “Evolution of Dance” man that’s been viewed over 310 million times. There’s the Numa Numa guy, the dramatic chipmunk or gopher, the sportscaster who made “boom goes the dynamite” a household phrase.
Think for a minute of all the YouTube videos that made you smile or LOL. “David After the Dentist”, “Chocolate Rain”, “Double Rainbow”, “Star Wars Kid”, or “Leave Britney Alone”. Videos that have collectively been viewed over 500-million times.
But YouTube also hosts videos no one has ever watched. These are videos uploaded for whatever reason that have generic titles such as MOV271, and IMG 89. There’s no description and no location listed. Just video after video with no views.
Astronaut.io is a website that finds YouTube videos that have just a handful, or zero views. The website, a documentary project by M.I.T. asks that you imagine you’re an astronaut, circling the globe and peeking in at life. The videos have all been uploaded in the previous few days.
There’s a church service in Asia, a group of men playing instruments in India, a small rock and roll band playing in a park.
The videos play for a few seconds before the astronaut.io globe circles again before dropping in on another video of who knows what or where. If you see a video you’d like to stick around for, you can tap on a button to stop circling to let the video continue playing. You can also open the video on YouTube.
Why would anyone want to watch these videos? You never know what you might find. And someone had to be the first to see “David After the Dentist” ask “Is this real life?”
Astronaut.io does indeed give people-watchers a glance at “real life”, thanks to YouTube.