It’s all on video

Nick Berg's final moments alive

I’ve recently been clearing out a bunch of old files. Many were video clips.

There were movie trailers, accidents, parodies, interviews, news events, “banned adverts”, risqué music videos, and a lot of other deviant material you wouldn’t show your mother. Most were collected around the turn of the millennium and kept for reference, you know… as evidence and for “historic reasons” should we forget that these incidents ever happened or in case nobody else believed that they did — because this was before everyone and their grandmother were online.

Back then there was no streaming. There was no such thing as YouTube.

To see the clips, you’d have to download them and watch them off-line using QuickTime or the horrid RealPlayer; the majority had accumulated in the days before YouTube and Liveleak (both of which launched in 2005 only). Accordingly, the quality of the clips is appalling by today’s standards because bandwidth was also at a premium.

Those early sources included luminaries such as ogrish.com, snuffx.com, orsm.net, ebaumsworld.com, stileproject.com, worth1000.com, malgusto.com and a host of other pioneers of free expression and public mockery. They often broke “news” before the traditional networks did; one might even call them precursors to social media as we know it today. Indeed, many were so-called shock sites but the archives also include perfectly wholesome material featuring furry felines long before those became a mass market phenomenon (although the clips worth archiving had big cats doing the decidedly unfunny acts of snacking on humans).

There’s also Paris Hilton’s oral adventures, a “rare copy” of a special preview for the original Star Wars movie, or the teaser trailer for 2002’s Spider-Man which climaxes with a helicopter getting caught in a web spun between the Twin Towers. And we all know why that got pulled, so let’s not mention any subsequent autopsy and beheading videos or Saddam Hussein’s execution either. This stuff was once controversial.

The early web was home to many weirdos, and videos of the kind didn’t help its reputation.

So where am I going with all of this?

According to their own statistics, there is ONE HOUR of video being uploaded to YouTube EVERY SECOND!

Almost every video clip ever worth archiving can now be found and streamed on either YouTube, archive.org or sites like Dailymotion.

People nonchalantly generate gigabytes of high-definition “evidence” via dashcams while others monetise the same by compiling hours upon hours of mind-numbing collections of the top 10 accidents and mishaps caught on camera. We create huge volumes of pointless data. Some of it is gruesome. Most of it is video, and don’t get me started on Vlogs.

Don’t bother smiling, you’re always on someone’s candid camera. Try not to laugh.

Well, there’s hardly a point in keeping my collection of “historic” old clips now.

I’ve deleted the majority. They’re passé. We’ve become brutal, with vicious disregard for human decency in the name of clicks and likes. Everything’s online, everything’s public. Scandal everywhere. Going viral is the new aspiration. It’s all gone video.

For Generation Z there has never been a world without YouTube.

But the internet doesn’t forget. And we have backups.

Videograbs by hmvh DOT net

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