Me at the zoo

"Me at the zoo" is the first video that was uploaded to YouTube, on April 23 2005,[1] 8:31:52 p.m. PDT, which is April 24, 2005 at 3:31:52 a.m. UTC.[2] The video was uploaded by the site's co-founder Jawed Karim, who uploaded the video onto a channel with the username "jawed", which was created the same day.[3] Recorded by his high-school friend Yakov Lapitsky at San Diego Zoo [4][5][6] using Karim's camera, [7] it features Karim in front of the elephants in their old exhibit in Elephant Mesa, making a note of their long trunks.[8][9] Lapitsky, a University of Delaware PhD student at the time, was in San Diego to deliver his research to the American Chemical Society.[7]

Me at the zoo
Full video
Produced byJawed Karim
StarringJawed Karim
CinematographyYakov Lapitsky
Release date
April 23, 2005, 8:31:52 p.m. (PDT); 16 years ago
Running time
CountryUnited States


The transcript of the video is as follows:

All right, so here we are in front of the, er, elephants, um, and the cool thing about these guys is that, is that they have really, really, really long, um, trunks, and that's, that's cool, and that's pretty much all there is to say.

Other featuresEdit

The video begins with a woman saying "uh-huh". A woman's voice is first heard 1 second in, melodiously saying "get away" during a pause in Karim's speech at 3 seconds in, after he has said the word "elephants". The voice of a man is audible at 8 seconds in. The same woman heard at 1 and 3 seconds says "away" at 14 seconds in, during a pause in Karim's speech after he has said the word "cool", which commences at 13 seconds in. The sound of a child or children's voice is interspersed throughout the speech, of these, a child is audibly saying the word "right" during a pause in Karim's speech at 16 seconds in, during the same pause commencing at 13 seconds. The last audible sound of the video is a child's voice saying something.


The Los Angeles Times explained in 2009 that "as the first video uploaded to YouTube, it played a pivotal role in fundamentally altering how people consumed media and helped usher in a golden era of the 60-second video".[10] The Observer describes its production quality as poor.[8] Digital Trends called it a "nondescript affair" and "tongue-in-cheek" video that set "the tone for what was to come" on YouTube.[11]

The video has garnered more than 165 million views on YouTube as of May 2021.[12]


Greg Jarboe describes the video's representation of an "ordinary moment" to be "extraordinary" for its time, demonstrating YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim's vision of what YouTube would become. According to Jarboe, "Me at the zoo" showed that YouTube was not simply about trying to "capture special moments on video" but rather trying to empower YouTube users "to become the broadcasters of tomorrow". This paved the way for YouTube to become the world's most popular online video-sharing community.[13] Aaron Duplantier said that the ordinary "everydayness" and "dry aesthetics" of "Me at the zoo" set the tone for the type of original amateur content that would become typical of YouTube, especially among YouTubers and vloggers.[14] In addition to being the first video on YouTube, it has been described as the first YouTube vlog clip.[15]

Business Insider ranked it the most important YouTube video of all time, stating: "It is representative of YouTube—it doesn't need to be this fancy production; it can be approachable. The first YouTube video is something anyone could create on their own."[16] The New York Observer also ranked it the most important video in YouTube history, stating "the thing is practically a historical artifact".[17] BuzzFeed News listed it among the 20 most important online videos of all time.[18]

Up until February 2021, the description of the video hinted at a follow-up, stating: "Maybe it's time to return to the zoo?".[19] The second part of "Me at the zoo" was later confirmed by the video's author on March 17, 2021.[20]


  1. ^ Asmelash, Leah (April 23, 2020). "The first ever YouTube video was uploaded 15 years ago today. Here it is". CNN. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  2. ^ "Extract Meta Data". Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  3. ^ "jawed - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved April 23, 2015. Joined April 24, 2005
  4. ^ Hartley, Matt (February 19, 2010). "Ten of YouTube's most influential videos". Canwest.
  5. ^ McGuinness, Ross (April 15, 2010). "Elephants to Gaga". Metro. p. 34. IT began with a spectacularly ordinary 18-second clip of man at the zoo, watching some elephants. It has been viewed almost 2 million times.
  6. ^ Meltzer, Tom; Phillips, Sarah (October 23, 2009). "G2: A First Time For Everything". The Guardian (London). p. 14. "Me at the zoo" is a man called Karim's 19-second long report from the elephant enclosure at San Diego zoo ... But its historical significance means that it has had well over a million hits so far.
  7. ^ a b Miller, Beth. "YouTube's First Upload". University of Delaware messenger. Vol. 23 no. 2. University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716: Retrieved June 5, 2021 – via Microsoft Bing.CS1 maint: location (link) note: the motto of the University of Delaware is "Dare to be first"
  8. ^ a b Hoby, Hermione; Tom Lamont (April 11, 2011). "How YouTube made superstars out of everyday people". The Observer. Kings Place, London, England, UK: Guardian Media Group. ISSN 0029-7712. OCLC 50230244. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2011. A girl in red hot pants helped elect a US president, a British pensioner became everyone's favourite grandad. In just five years, the YouTube website has invented a new kind of celebrity
  9. ^ Heffernan, Virginia (September 6, 2009). "Uploading the Avant-Garde". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2011. The first video on YouTube was uploaded at 8:27 pm. on Saturday, April 23, 2005. It's called Me at the Zoo, and it features the musings of Jawed Karim, one of the site's founders, as elephants nose around in hay behind him.
  10. ^ Pham, Alex (April 10, 2010). "YouTube turns 5, can't wait to grow up". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California, USA. ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. Archived from the original on April 21, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011. Born as a clearinghouse for quick, quirky homemade videos, the site now seeks to add more professional and profitable content.
  11. ^ "'Elephants have really long trunks' — YouTube's first ever video upload turns seven years old today". Digital Trends. April 23, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  12. ^ Me at the zoo. jawed. Retrieved June 26, 2020 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Jarboe, Greg (2009). YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day. John Wiley & Sons. p. xxi. ISBN 9780470577820.
  14. ^ Duplantier, Aaron (2016). Authenticity and How We Fake It: Belief and Subjectivity in Reality TV, Facebook and YouTube. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 9780786498499.
  15. ^ "YouTube created a FOMO viewing culture over the past 13 years". Polygon. April 23, 2018.
  16. ^ Baer, Drake (February 20, 2015). "The 10 most important Youtube videos of all time". Business Insider. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "The 10 Most Important Videos in YouTube History". The New York Observer. February 13, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "The 20 Most Important Online Videos Of All Time". BuzzFeed News. BuzzFeed. September 27, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  19. ^ Version of "Me at the zoo" with follow-up hint description. jawed. Archived from the original on February 16, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2020 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ Version of "Me at the zoo" with description confirming the second part. jawed. Archived from the original on March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2020 – via YouTube.

External linksEdit