This Was The First Ever YouTube Video

It all started with Karim, at the zoo.

3 min readNov 10, 2020

First-Ever Youtube Video | Me at the Zoo | Photo Credits: Business Insider

The first-ever youtube video was uploaded more than fifteen years ago on April 23, 2005.

It was Youtube’s co-founder Jawed Karim who uploaded the video under the username “jawed”. It was also the first-ever youtube account. The video was recorded by Jawed’s childhood friend Yakov Lapitsky.

It was a 19-second video titled “Me at the zoo.” The video was shot in the San Diego Zoo in front of two elephants in their old exhibit in Elephant Mesa.

As soon as you click the play button, you see a Young Karim, with messed up hair, without any fancy film crew, without any makeup, and without any script, just randomly talking about elephants.

Have a look!

The exact transcript of this short video is,

All right, so here we are in front of the, uh, elephants, 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.

An interesting thing to note in the video is that, unlike most of the youtube creators’ videos today, you don’t see Karim asking people to hit the like button or comment or even subscribe to his channel.

Furthermore, it seems like the video wasn’t even shot with a professional high-resolution camera because the quality of the video is quite poor.

As of today, the video has over 123 million views with almost 5 million likes. Interestingly it is the only video on Jawed’s channel and still, he has managed to get more than a million subscribers.


The video was uploaded a month before the platform’s beta launch in May 2005. At this point, the founding team shifted its idea from launching an online dating site to creating a platform for sharing online videos. The website was officially launched for public use in November 2005.


I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.