Wednesday marks the ninth anniversary of YouTube’s very first video upload, an uninspiring clip of some elephants at the zoo. Plenty of stars and unforgettable characters have emerged on the video-sharing site since then, but they make for only a tiny percentage of the 100 hours of footage that’s loaded onto the site every minute.
PetitTube, a website that shows never-before-seen YouTube videos, drudges up these obscure entries and gives them their deserved few seconds in the spotlight.
It works quite simply: The website will play a previously unseen clip and ask you, in French, whether you enjoyed it or not. As soon as you click, you’ll be shown another. You can repeat the exercise until the end of your workday. The hours of unseen footage are (almost) limitless.
This is not the first project to highlight hidden gems buried in a vast digital collection of work. As you may recall, a site called Forgotify will play you something from the 4 million songs in Spotify’s music-streaming catalog that have never been listened to.
Both are hat-tips to the little guys who dared to contribute something, anything, to the never-ending stream of content that is the Internet. That and an ode to the wonderful assortment of weird/dark/nonsensical stuff that’s hiding in the web’s dusty crevices.
Speaking of which, my first visit to PetitTube introduced me to some truly fascinating specimens. First up was a LEGO stop-motion video, for which YouTube member miki mause dx provided a voice-over for each character. It’s apparently part of a series called “lego ninjago rebooted.” Needless to say, one episode sufficed.
After that, I was treated to a real-estate slideshow of a lovely property in Vancouver, British Columbia. Very catchy soundtrack. I’m interested!
And then a helpful instructional video on how to conjugate the verb “to sigh” in French.
My journey ended with this dude pretending to slice some meat in slow motion. Strong finish.
Your adventure, if you choose to embark, will be entirely different. (It may take a few tries to load the site. If you get an error message at first, just reload a couple of times. The site is currently experiencing a lot of traffic.) After just one view, these videos graduate from PetitTube and move onto bigger and better things. Who knows, maybe our next YouTube hero is in there somewhere.