Founded in 2005, YouTube quickly became one of the hottest sites on the internet. Today the site serves up over one hundred million videos a day. According to the research site HitWise, YouTube can claim over 46 percent of the entire online video market. Considering that site was started by three twenty something techies in silicon valley, and then sold to Google for $1.65bln in late 2006, it is easy to see how the site has started a revolution in the world of online video.

Originally thought up as a video version of the website HotorNot (a pioneer in websites that allowed a user to upload content) YouTube’s founders quickly realized that users were uploading whatever videos they wanted. People were uploading videos and linking to them from their MySpace sites. YouTube piggybacked on the explosive growth of the social networking site to become the biggest online video site on the web today; MySpace continues to be the greatest source of hits for YouTube according to HitWise.

It was probably a number of factors, and smart decisions by it’s founders that allowed YouTube such explosive growth. It was one of the first sites that allowed viewers to watch video from the site with no special software. The decision not to place ads before videos also contributed to the sites success. Probably the largest factor though was how easy the site is to use. A user can register, upload their videos, and it is so easy your grandmother could do it. The combination of the easy and edgy feel to the site fueled it’s growth to where it is today.

Today the site serves up 100 million videos to users worldwide each and every day. From simple messages uploaded by users, to professionally produced videos, you can find almost anything on YouTube. Some users have found fame from their crazy antics in amateur skits. A couple of users have even garnered professional television contracts from their YouTube videos. The site really has become a phenomenon in the world of online video, and social networking.

What is it that really made YouTube different from other online video sharing websites?

It was the right site, at the right time. At a time when broadband internet is the norm and social networking was beginning to explode on the internet, YouTube gave users a new way to communicate. People now have an outlet for their creativity, any message they want to share, and a way to share information through video online. Combine that with the social networking sites like myspace or facebook — that allow users to link to YouTube videos — and YouTube is becoming a pioneer in the way people share information. For the first time, with a simple video camera, anyone can post videos of whatever they want for free.

It will be interesting to see how YouTube, and other sites like it, continue to change the way we communicate, the way we advertise, and mostly the way we share ourselves.