From time to time, we stumble upon gems in the online universe which speak to us in varied ways. Here’s a recent find from Time.com: YouTube’s 50 Best Videos. It is Time’s homage to YouTube, which it describes as a “breeding ground for the Web’s wackiest and wildest viral videos,” on its 5th birthday. And an exciting breeding ground it is. I am constantly awed by the way it revolutionized not just the entertainment landscape but also the way lessons are being taught to students, political campaigns are being done, and how celebrities are made. It is a media platform open to just about anyone and everyone who has a computer and internet access and the audience is the world. I would like to mention, too, that our very own Cebu Dancing Inmates’ dance rendition of Thriller made it to the list. That’s the point.
And so, as the article encourages the viewer to choose his/her own top 10 from the list, please allow me to post my five personal favorites. Please allow me, too, to include text from the Time.com list to introduce each video.
CHARLIE BIT MY FINGER
YouTube’s most viewed video of all time is an unlikely champion. Seen more than 170 million times since its posting in May 2007, “Charlie Bit My Finger” was never meant to be anything more than a family flick. But the Internet’s hive mind saw something it liked and catapulted the clip, which depicts a laughing British baby gnawing on the finger of his crying brother, past “Evolution of Dance” as YouTube’s views champ by the fall of 2009.
OTTERS HOLDING HANDS
Oh, otter love. Thirteen million people have found it worth two minutes of their time to watch two adorable Vancouver Aquarium critters clutch hands while a little boy observes, “They don’t wanna let go!” Sadly, Nyac, one of the sea otter hand-holders and a survivor of the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989, died in 2008 of leukemia. A reprise of the video airs more like a funeral.
HERE IT GOES AGAIN
“Here It Goes Again” wasn’t OK Go’s first taste of Internet fame — the band got mainstream attention for its video for “A Million Ways,” a low-budget backyard dance routine. But “Here It Goes Again” — perhaps better known as “that treadmill video” — grew big enough to even get acknowledgement from the Grammys. The band took home the trophy for Best Short-Form Music Video in 2007 for the clip, which featured an elaborately choreographed routine performed on moving treadmills (a dance that, perhaps equally impressively, was shot in a single take). But this example of Internet fame has an unhappy footnote: though YouTube gave the group its break, OK Go recently sparred with its record label for not allowing fans to embed its videos.
JILL AND KEVIN’S BIG DAY
When Minnesotans Kevin and Jill planned their wedding ceremony, they decided to nix the formal entrance and celebrate with their own crazy dance routine. The choreographed processional to Chris Brown’s “Forever” gave them 45 million YouTube hits, publicity they directed toward a good cause. So far, the couple has raised $26,000 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute.
LITERAL MUSIC VIDEOS
Old 1980s love ballads. Bad pop songs. Have you ever watched a music video and wondered what they’re actually doing? Us too. Thankfully, literal music videos began popping up to explain what’s really going on in bizarre videos like “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” “When did spazzing out qualify as a dance? … That angel guy just felt me up.” The all-too-obvious narrations scored millions of viewers.