The Most Influential YouTube Videos Of All Time, Part Two

As the Mayan calendar counts off the days to our collective destruction, one cannot help but drift towards thoughts of rebirth and evolution. Television and film are in a constant state of evolution, from the introduction of gore porn as an actual genre to the equally cringe-worthy birth of reality television.

While television and cinema continue their tireless advance, many of their so-called “innovations” are simply rehashes of older novelties (think 3D or silent film). If one entertainment platform is truly deserving of the fake award I just made up – The Machu Picchu Award For Most-Evolved Entertainment Provider Before The Extinction Of Humanity – it is without a doubt YouTube.

Just as traditional media has roots that extend deep into a rich history of innovators, so does YouTube. The site’s history is less than a decade old, yet it is still full of trailblazers who helped turn YouTube into the media giant it is today.

Keyboard Cat

Keyboard Cat cannot be completely credited for the explosion of feline popularity on the Internet. However, this furry savant took the concept of cats behaving wildly and transformed it into something that gave them the freedom to become performers. Without Keyboard Cat turning the camera on himself to showcase his talents, we would have never accepted Nyan Cat, Grumpy Cat or Henri Le Chat Noir.

Don’t Tase Me, Bro

Before citizen journalism on YouTube was an actual movement, there existed pockets of videos showcasing police brutality and abuses of power. While “Don’t Tase Me, Bro’s” “Bro” wasn’t necessarily abusing power or out of line in the aforementioned tasering, the video still reminded authority figures that cameras were always rolling. It was one of the first viral examples of citizens recording authorities, which simply by its popularity, opened up a new world where iPhones made the public the watchers.

Evolution of Dance

Dance on its own has become an incredibly popular component of YouTube programming.  Web shows like “Dance On” are quickly becoming YouTube’s newest obsession as dance in general explodes back into cultural relevancy. “Evolution of Dance” was a harbinger of this trend’s popularity. The viral YouTube video reminded digital audiences that dance was something they loved and wanted more of.

JK Wedding Entrance Dance

Generation Y is known above all for its cynical outlook on life. Cute photos and videos are viewed with a detached level or irony that has been built from so many years of wading through the cesspool that the Internet can become. It is near impossible to see the good in the world after spending 10 minutes on most subreddits. “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” reminded us that things could be lovely without some type of horrible catch. Although this generation’s capacity for compassion may be unpredictable, this viral wedding video gave a small level of heart back to an ambivalent technology-driven world.