"This year’s list offers a glimpse at the tremendous growth YouTube has experienced as a company and as an online community," said Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management for YouTube. "We are pleased to see the diversity of content that YouTube users are watching and talking about. The most popular videos on YouTube come from regular users, emerging online studios and the largest of media companies. YouTube has truly leveled the playing field for all content creators."
Each of the following YouTube videos became a cultural phenomenon this year:
Pork and Beans
Weezer’s "Pork And Beans" video debuted on YouTube in May. Drawing on 24 of the biggest viral hits the site has seen to date — from "Dramatic Chipmunk" to "Miss Teen USA 2007 South Carolina" to Tay Zonday’s "Chocolate Rain" — the video salutes some of the more memorable moments and people in YouTube’s history, generating more than 15,500,000 clicks in the process.
Christian the Lion
This video about an unbreakable bond between man and beast was one of the most talked about in ’08. It briefly chronicles the true story of a lion being reunited with the two men who raised him, years after he’d been released back into the wild and become the leader of his own pride. The actual reunion took place in 1972, but this archive footage was rediscovered and posted to YouTube earlier this year.
Frozen Grand Central
The New York-based collective Improv Everywhere have become firm favorites on the site, thanks to their unique public hijinks. Videos like "No Pants Subway Ride" and "Food Court Musical" offer good examples of their large-scale pranks, but the elaborate public performance "Frozen Grand Central Station" was especially popular with viewers. The video features more than 200 people simultaneously freezing in place at Grand Central Station in New York City; the reactions of onlookers are as striking as the stunt itself.
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)
Matt Harding is best known as the goofy guy who danced his way around the world. First in 2006 when he danced solo, but in 2008 Harding recreated his hit video, this time dancing with residents of the places he visited. Harding’s silly jigs have brought inspiration and joy to millions of people — more than 14 million have viewed it on YouTube alone. As one observant user said, "It shows that no matter how different we are on the outside, inside we all just want to dance, laugh, and have fun."
Rick Astley "Never Going To Give You Up"
Chances are that at some point in 2008, you or someone you know experienced a "Rick Roll": a bait-and-switch prank that dupes you into watching the video for Rick Astley’s 1980s hit "Never Going To Give You Up." The joke even transcended the Internet, where it was born, with organizers of football games, parades and rallies "Rick Rolling" unsuspecting attendees. But perhaps the ultimate "Rick Roll" occurred on April Fool’s Day, when YouTube rigged up every feature video on the homepage to play Astley’s famous clip.
Will.i.am "Yes We Can"
When Barack Obama delivered his concession speech after the New Hampshire primary, little did he know he was providing the script — and the inspiration — for the most-watched political video of 2008. Will.i.am’s "Yes We Can" music video, a celebrity-studded mash-up of Obama’s speech, became an instant viral sensation upon its release in early February, and had a massive influence on Election ’08 and popular culture. Seen over 6 million times just on Will.i.am’s official YouTube channel, the video has inspired voters, young people, and satirists alike.
Fred Loses His Meds
Who says you can’t become an overnight success on YouTube? Fifteen-year-old Lucas Cruikshank, or Fred Figglehorn as he is known to fans, created a Web series in which he plays a hyperactive six-year-old with anger management issues. Fred’s hyper-kinetic videos quickly caught people’s attention and helped make him the fastest-rising star in YouTube history. This video (his second) was Fred’s first to break a million views, jump-starting his meteoric rise to his current position as the #1 Most Subscribed user on YouTube.
Star Wars According to a Three-Year Old
This sweet-faced little lady became a YouTube sensation with her retelling of the original Star Wars movie. Fans of the film can go on for hours discussing the plot, but this three-year-old sums it up in less than two minutes. If not the most detailed description of Star Wars ever, it’s arguably the most adorable. Warning: Spoiler Alert.
The MILEY Story
* Miley Cyrus "7 Things"
* Miley Cyrus - 7 Things - Spoof
* M&M CRU FINAL DANCE BATTLE - Cyrus Blaine Seacrest Tatum
Not only did Miley release a hit song (and video) this year with "7 Things," which inspired several user-generated parodies (some of them nearly as popular as the original), but the Hannah Montana star also launched her own YouTube channel, mileymandy, with her best friend Mandy Jiroux. The girls have used their channel to vlog and generally horse around for their audience of over 292,000 subscribers, and it’s also where they post their "M&M Cru" dance battle videos, which together have notched nearly 15 million views and took the world’s "biggest online dance battle" to a whole new level.
Super Mario Rescues The Princess: Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade [December 25, 2008]
As the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, Seth MacFarlane has had a tremendous impact on envelope-pushing animated entertainment. This year, MacFarlane decided to bring his talents to the lnternet, launching "Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy" exclusively on Google and YouTube. Not only was this a groundbreaking event for online video, it also opened up new opportunities for advertisers, as content creators started to generate revenue from their videos both on and off YouTube.
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