In a year where most people spent months locked inside, it’s no surprise that many creators flocked to a platform where they could make and share videos as a creative outlet. From politics to squirrels, here’s the wrap-up of the biggest YouTube events of 2020.
In the early months of the pandemic, John Krasinski, best known for his role in “The Office,” started a YouTube show dedicated to informing people of good news happening in a difficult time. The first episode aired on March 29 and currently has over 18M views. Over the course of the show, Krasinski invited guests including Billie Eilish, Steve Carell, the Jonas Brothers, and more. The show was sold to CBS in May after 11 episodes on YouTube.
Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer who has over 15M subscribers on YouTube, found a creative solution to the adorably annoying problem of squirrels stealing from his bird feeder. Rober set up an elaborate eight-part obstacle course for the squirrels, made with challenges inspired by shows like Wipeout. If the four squirrels that lived in his backyard successfully finished the course without falling for traps, they would reach the jackpot: a bird feeder and a box full of walnuts. The video reached 52M views in just six months.
2020 saw the highest voter turnout for America in over a century at 66%. Last month’s election was a close call, and both sides expressed frustration due to the delayed results. Many Americans turned to YouTube to watch live updates. Even a month after the election, the platform is confronting political issues, announcing recently that they would be removing videos about voter fraud. “We also disallow content alleging widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. Presidential election,” YouTube stated in their article titled “Supporting the 2020 U.S. Election” on December 9, 2020.
YouTube Rewind, the annual end-of-the-year wrap-up that the app has been making since 2020, was canceled this year. The platform claimed in a Twitter post that this is because making a Rewind “doesn’t feel appropriate” this year, but it also may be a result of the criticism of past wrap-ups, which people called “lazy” and “uncreative.” Then again, was there ever an appropriate time for Rewind?
5. Baby Shark
To end this baffling year, the famous “Baby Shark” video has managed to become the world’s most-viewed YouTube video of all time with over 7 billion views since its upload in 2016. The previous record-holder was the “Despacito” video. “Baby Shark” overtook it in November, and now has around 10M more views.