See the First Videos of Some Prominent YouTube Stars

Even want to see the first videos posted by some of YouTube’s most famous creators? What was Fred’s first video? It wasn’t on his Fred channel. How about the first Ray William Johnson, Annoying Orange, Shane Dawson and Smosh vieos?

I made a Delicious Stack that takes you right to them. The first videos of famous YouTubers. Enjoy.

Don’t forget the FIRST YouTube video, where 5 million people learned that “pretty much all there is to say” about elephants is that they “have really long and cool trunks.” That stuff hasn’t even begun to viralinate.

 

Sam Videotapes Himself for 35 Years

Eat your hearts out vloggers. You may be regular, but can you show clips of yourself vlogging for 35 years? Here, Sam (also known as MisterEsoteric) shows his highlights progressing from 2011 backwards… to the 1970s. When most vloggers weren’t alive, and the term itself wasn’t yet born.

Stay tuned to the end where Sam observes “try not to live in the past,” and then shows a collage of rapid-fire photos of his face through this span of time.

Famous YouTube Star’s First Videos

It’s fun to look at the early videos of some of the best-known YouTube personalities of today (and previous years). Unfortunately many have groomed their channel to eliminate some early embarrassments. Still, I’ve done my best to find some old and awkward videos from some of the top creators/channels. Please feel free to add some in the comments, because I’m too exhausted from digging these up (I haven’t figured out an easier way than scrolling page after page). Anyone want to dig up a vintage clip from their favorite creator? Find that first Shaycarl video or LisaNova?

Here’s a video I did in October 2007 where I asked some of my favorite YouTubers to send their childhood photos. It’s funny how some have vanished, and some have gone on to great heights.

YouTube’s New Year’s Resolutions

Hi. I'm YouTube. I'm a little drunk, but here are my New Year's Resolutions. Dude I love you.

Hi. I’m YouTube. I’ve never spoken before, so forgive me if I sound like a computer. I having been designed by engineers not ‘creative people’ with sub-par GPAs. I wasn’t made by the sales and marketing people who, in college, cheated off those who programmed me. Sorry- that came out wrong. That takes me to my New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m a little buzzed right now. So I’m going to write this down and so I remembering it tomorrow.

I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job in 2010, but I’m not perfect. No machine, much less you humans, is. I’ve got some things to improve in 2011. So now let me getting started.

In 2011 I'm going to be nice to agency people despite their GPAs
  1. I’m going to stop being a dick to agencies. I didn’t realize that online video, unlike paid search, isn’t exactly a self-serve checkout lane at the grocery store. You’re going to totally think this is funny, but I thought you agency people were just idiots spending my customer’s money. Seriously. I realize now you idiots actually add some value. Or at least you’re influencing where brands spend money online, despite your small brains and Madison Avenue bullshit. I know Yahoo and AOL’s media sales representatives are totally more hot than my human selling people, but I hope you’ll give us a second chance. We got off on the wrong foot. Let’s be friends and drink martinis or sangrias or whatever you do to mask the putrid scent of failed dreams or quell your pent-up artistic aspirations. Cheers!
  2. Baby New Year looks like a love child from Swiss Miss and Chucky. Who's with me?

    I’m going to stop acting like a stoned teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I like those teenagers. I’m not a perv or anything… it’s just that they binge on my video like Alcoholic’s Anonymous noobs suck down cigarettes! I know I made an indelible first impression with most of you. Probably when you hear my name (hey, YouTube!) you generally think of either some ripped SNL skit, or Pandas crapping on skateboard toilets. In my defense, when Google bought me, I tried to just give people the crap they wanted. And oh you humans like your crap. This shizzle worked for search. But then, like “black hat” search-engine optimization trolls, some real crappy video got top billing. And it kinda got stuck in what my Master calls an “infinite loop.” It got stuck in an infinite loop. An infinite loop. Anyway, I didn’t really adjust well for broader audiences. I now realize there are people who will watch online video that agree this dude is a douche, and frankly I can’t sell even diet ads around his vids anyway. S0 I’m working on that. But, dude, I’m not going to become some girly Vimeo artistic local theater or anything. I’m also going to leave the booby videos to the peeps in Tel Aviv. Seriously if you know of any real online-video sites that are doing it right, please let me know. I’ll copy them, acquire them, or destroy them… whatever it takes to be a man.

  3. I don't know what love feels like, but check out this Asian robot. Is she hawt?

    I’m going to be more humane. My programmers are teaching me to be like humans. While they haven’t compiled the code for what you evolved apes call “love” and “empathy,” Master has taught me ways to simulate the job of a broadcast programmer without the Marhals suits and Scotch. In 2009 and even some of 2010, a few dozen “wanna-be stars” totally troll-hacked me into thinking their videos were good. I’m onto them. I am beginning to develop predictable logic about this thing you call “non-suck-ass” video. I’m going to start pimping videos that are “good like.” On my road to being and overtaking humans, please forgive me for occasionally making some stupid video popular or burying something half decent.

  4. I realize I need to be more than a search-engine. Over the past few years I was trying to kiss Google’s ass (it’s my Master). So I was all OCD about video search, while also trying to “thin the Hurl herd” of original YouTube doob heads. Now I realize that this online-video space is uncomfortably different from paid search. People may stick around and watch crap, and I can make a few bucks jamming pre-rolls down their throats and charge really low CPMs and make money. I owe it to you to be more than a map. I need to be the the navigation system, destination and “thing that wouldn’t leave.” If you have unbastardized free time I’ve failed you. I know half of my views are for music videos, but I want to be more than a free jute box to you.
  5. I’m going to stop jamming bottom-feeder pre-rolls at people. During that last point I realized I probably shouldn’t serve crappy CPM pre-rolls, but go for fewer and more relevant ads. Then I can charge a lot more. My Master told me that one day I too may create a bidding war over my advertising space, so it commands its actual worth. Then, with patience, I can start bidding careless media buyers against each other, and charge a super premium. Oh shit, I forgot about my first resolution. Forget that last point. Anyway my Master doesn’t pay a lot of attention to me because I’m kinda like the Coke machine at the casino, but one day I’m going to be His favorite. You’ll see.
  6. I made him. I can destroy him.

    I’m going to democratize content. I’ve totally played favorites lately with a few asswipe amateurs. I’ve made a few people temporary millionaires who will be bussing tables and driving Geek Squad vans again soon. A dozen or so people make $100K plus a year. This year I’m going to try to spread the wealth better, and see if I can cultivate better relationships with people who don’t just rally fan bases but actually have something watchable. I’m not talking about those shitty subtitled foreign films or anything, but I’m going to let a few brains on stage. I’ll start with Alf reruns.

  7. I’m going to stop being a dick to networks and producers. I realize I’ve not helped you promote and sell your own ads, and I’m totally going to change all of that this totally completely this year pinky promise. It’s a top priority even though it was like the 7th thing that came to mind. But let’s face it. Who needs whom more? Or as you advertising people say, “who needs who more?”
  8. I’m going to exercise and start eating well. I’m totally kidding about that. Just busting your balls. I’m going to get fatter and lazier because I’m practically a monopoly. I can apologize for being me, but I’m not going to mean it.
  9. android droid cartoon darth vader vador head
    All distribution channels will be almost as equal as my Master

    I’m really going to work on distribution BFFs. You’ve got to admit I’m a happening Hip Hop bar. But like Starbucks jamming Via into grocery stores, you’ll find me wherever you go. Let’s face it, most people have been coming to me to watch videos, but I’m really, really, really trying to be a platform not some lame-ass portal like AOL or Yahoo or Bling or whatever. I know I’ve been saying that, like, every year. But this year’s going to be different. But can you blame me for not getting my nips all hard over the 127 people using TiVos and AppleTVs? And I don’t even hear iTunes and iPads claiming “do no evil,” much living up to it. Anyway, this year I totally promise — if you’ve got, like, more than maybe a thousand people viewing videos on your stupid little phone, web-video box or elevator kiosk… I’ll pay attention to you. You can have the goods, and I don’t just mean the old “suck on my API or embed.” But let’s make a deal here. Don’t pull any flash cock-blockers or start shouting monopoly crap (because we’ll kick you in your net neutralities). If you’re really nice I’ll even allow you dumbass telephone companies to shit out some pre-rolls via me, and I’ll share a tiny bit of money with you. I mean nobody’s going to buy them, but I’ll try. My Master’s Droid is first in line of course. But our dance floor is huge, so the VIP entrance is the front door. Let’s party! Who else thinks Mark Cuban is a douche bag? YEAH!

  10. Lastly, the viewer comes first. I’m totally going to do right by the viewer and that’s why I saved it for my big finish. Master has taught me my priorities. After bold land-grabbing innovation, vigilant legal, and revenue building, the customer always comes first.
youtube nerd
Lastly, viewers come first

Gentle Promo in Daily Videos

One of the benefits of having a daily vlog channel (see definition below), is you can drop in subtle product placements or promotions for friends — but still do proper sponsored videos on the core channel. See as an example today’s Unclenalts video (a 356-day vlog channel, dubbed “YouTube Orbit.”

I wanted to plug Daisy Whitney’s new book Mockingbirds, but make something marginally entertaining. So we focused on our little party tricks, and Daisy got a book plug in. Rhett and Link did the same thing (they also mentioned Beyond Viral, my book).

Many top YouTubers have secondary channels for daily video blogs (vlogs), mostly for their core audience who want to see more “behind the scenes” and enrich their parasocial relationships. Some (like shaytards) become bigger than the YouTuber’s primary account.

Go buy Daisy’s book here. She clearly has a better shot as a novelist than doing party tricks for children parties (which is my backup plan).

Best Online-Video of 1986 and 2010

If you know Greg Benson, Mediocrefilms and Mediocrefilms2, then you’ll squeal with delight in discovering this vintage piece. It’s a training video for an upscale fast-food restaurant (or downscale real restaurant). I’m not naming the company name because I’d hate for them to ask for it to be removed. It’s vintage Greg… before the hair loss and hair transplant.

Rush to 3:52 to learn about Greg’s, I mean Craig’s, trepidation with upsells.

The First YouTube Video Ever

The New York Times wrote recently about the first video ever posted on YouTube. Here’s Jawed Karim telling us that he’s standing in front of the elephants. Further, he explains that the “cool” thing about elephants is that they have really long trunks. Karim would later update his video to show an annotation that points out the goat sounds on his  “meet at the zoo” video.

Jawed posted this on April 23, 2005, and would later receive $64 million in Google stock for his contribution to YouTube. He was last seen two years ago in Hawaii. (actually to be fair, Jawed signed in as recently as four days ago).

Says NYTimes Writer Virginia Heffernon:

When this technique of redundancy was used in the films of Godard, it was considered the height of sophistication, a comment on the way movies pile on information: they show, they narrate and they describe. The elephants are unmistakable to viewers, and yet Karim identifies them. Then he names the iconic shape right in front of us — “long trunks” — lest anyone miss that long trunks equal elephants equal long trunks.

If we didn’t believe Heffernon was disguising disdain with subtle sarcasm, we would have thrown up in the back of our throats.

You know, I’m not sure why Jawed picked that username when he presumably had any other option available. It sounds like a b-grade beach movie. I’d have chosen the username Fred or Smosh or Nigahiga or something.

P.S. Here’s my first video (Scary Santa), posted 9 months later than Jawed’s. It has not earned me $64 million dollars yet.

First Online-Video Star Receives Medal of Honor by NYC National Arts Club

thehill88 and naltsCaitlin Hill, known online as TheHill88, received NYC’s National Arts Club’s prestigious “Medal of Honor” this week (see press release which I just finished toiling over because I’m consulting with Hitviews.

The 20-year-old Australian video creator joins former medal recipients Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Leonard Bernstein, Salvador Dali, and Martin Scorcese. Three US Presidents have been members of the National Arts Club.

Caitlin was honored by top broadcast talent, pioneers of radio and television… and me.

 I’m seen in this photo, just minutes before I ate Caitlin’s dessert while she was giving her thank-you speech. After acknowledging guests, she remarked, “Nalts- I forgot you’re funny.” I’ll give you about 700 ways to forget, Caitlin.

Seriously, though. This room was packed with the who’s who of media, many whom have made private investments in Hitviews.

  • Reese Schonfeld, the former CEO of CNN.
  • Cousin Brucie Morrow, who introduced the Beatles in Shea Stadium in 1965.
  • Hitviews Founder Walter Sabo, who was one of the youngest VPs of ABC and NBC.
  • Allan Shaw, Centennial Broadcasting founder.
  • National Arts Club President O. Aldon James
  • Gary Slaight, a former owner of 30 radio stations in Canada, and Bob Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax, are also investors but did not attend the December 8 dinner.

Check out some of the brief talks honoring Caitlin (below). Again- I’ve been consulting with Hitviews because I kinda dig this model about rallying top online-video stars to reate branded entertainment. I think with this group of media investors — their experience and funding — Hitviews may change the game for creators and advertisers.

If you choose to watch the videos of the December 8 dinner, check out Allan Shaw especially (mustache guy). He’s got some inside knowledge as a YouTube viewer. And if you watch mine, I really, really am not interested on a count of how many “uh” and “ums” I had. It was past my bedtime. Check out Caitlin’s video at 3:00 where she gives her “Nalts” dig. Charming. Lovely. Read Caitlin’s accounts of the day here.


 

My First Shout Out (boring “history of nalts” post)

Don’t know what a “shout out” is? It’s when you mention someone in your video. Don’t care? Stop reading. This blog entry isn’t for the industry watchers, but for the small group of obscure people that watch my crap.

I stumbled into my first “shout out” video recently. In this fake PSA I did about Revver.com, I spoof the “art” of independent creators, and shed light on the folks that were ripping content and then making money on it (my brother in law played the video artist that made $9 a week dropping forks on the ground). The video was called “Revverberation,” which would later become the name of my unofficial Revver blog that spawned this one.

marquisdejolieAt the end you’ll see a legal document that lists Marquisdejolie vs. Texas. I remember Googling for a legal template, then altering it with his name and then photographing it… wondering if he’d notice this homage since he seemed to be watching every new Revver video like I was.

I also remember going nuts that this video got thousands of views, since most got 50-100.  To gauge the magnitude, I adjust for view inflation by multiplying 2006/2007 views by 1,000 times. So this was a 3 million view video, as far as I was concerned.

More related trivia. When I was first featured on YouTube with “Viral Video Genius,” I mention being called an Andy Warhol of online video… “by a homeless guy in Texas. He has a blog. Google it.” Well this time Marquisdejolie caught the “shout out” before I had to spoon feed it, and no response tickled me like his spontaneous laughter clip. Can you listen to that and not crack up?

Here’s Marquisdejolie’s recount from a year ago, but I can’t seem to find his original blog post calling me the Warhol of online video.

And then there’s this post from MarquisdeJolie’s blog:

Nalts doesn’t need a tribute from me. He’s doing just fine on Revver and Youtube and Livevideo and Metacafe and wherever else he may be…. Wherever 10 or more viral video fans collect to watch videos, you find a Nalts video there…. I just needed an excuse to use his name in my blog so that the Internet search engines will spot my blog and up my ranking. His screen name is a commodity now like gold or silver or pork bellies. Use it in your blog and watch your hits skyrocket.