Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

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first tweet 300   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & MoreAll of you who are reading these lines, including me, take the Internet for granted. Although it might not have been around when we were younger, its quick development over the past 20 years has left almost no one untouched. While some of us live and breath Internet, others “just” use email and make the occasional order from Amazon. Regardless of how you use it, it’s probably affecting your life in some way.

Of course, this wasn’t always the case, and many of the services we now use daily were not even around 20 years ago. What was the first website to ever be published? What was the first Amazon item ever ordered? What is the first line to ever be tweeted? Curious? So was I. After several hours of extensive research, I came up with some very interesting answers. Buckle your seatbelts, we’re going back in time!

The First Website

first webpage   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

This is a restored version of the first website to ever be published on the World Wide Web. At least as far as we know. Not unlike the Wiki pages of today, this website, with its simple header of “World Wide Web”, is just a network of links providing information about the Web as it was back in the early 90s. The links all work, so aside from it being an archeological piece of Internet history, you can actually browse it for some interesting, if dated, information.

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You can read more about the advent of the World Wide Web here.

The First Image

first photo   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

Yes, this is apparently the first photo to ever make it to the World Wide Web. And yes, it is a Photoshop disaster. Tracked by Motherboard to its origins, this photo turned 20 just over a month ago. The reason behind this random photo becoming the first-ever on the Web is pretty fascinating, and includes a parody band by the name of The Horribles Cernettes, and the fact that Tim Berners-Lee, who consequentially invented the World Wide Web, was also, apparently, a cross-dresser.

Read the full story and find the original, un-photoshopped photo here.

The First Email

The first email to ever be sent between two computers is much older than any website or image. It happened around 1971, two year after the invention of ARPANET, the world’s first functioning network. The person to send this very historic piece of text was Ray Tomlinson, who worked on ARPANET, and is believed to have sent several nonsense test messages while working on the system, one of which finally worked. As a result, no one really knows what the first email really said, but according to Ray Tomlinson, it was “something like QWERTYUIOP”. Inspiring!

Read more about the first email and Ray Tomlinson’s story here.

The First YouTube Video


The first video to ever be uploaded to YouTube was only 18 seconds long, and featured one of its co-founders, Jawed Karim, enjoying the elephants at the San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23rd, 2005, is titled “Me at the zoo”, and has nothing much going for it aside from the ground-breaking history-making fact that it’s the first ever video on today’s most successful video website. Only a year and a half later, on October 2006, Google announced its YouTube acquisition for $1.65 billion, so you can only imagine how fast things rolled from “Me at the zoo”.

Learn more about YouTube’s history here.

The First Tweet On Twitter

first tweet   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

“just setting up my twttr”, said Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s co-founders, back in March 21st, 2006. While this was actually an automated tweet, it was the first one to ever appear on Twitter, almost 6.5 years ago. Fortunately, the name has been changed to Twitter since then, and the network has also gained about 100 million users. If you’re curious, the first tweet to have actually been written by a human, seems to be this – Jack Dorsey again, inviting coworkers to the new social network, only 10 minutes after the first-ever automated tweet was sent.

Find more interesting Twitter facts here.

The First Wikipedia Article

first wikipedia   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

The matter of the first Wikipedia article is a bit more complex. Without getting too technical, Wikipedia’s database changed sometime after its launch, on January 15, 2001, and no edits were actually saved from that day. While the very first edit is probably “Hello World!” by co-founder Jimmy Wales, that edit has been lost forever. However, there are some edits that survived on record from the next day, January 16, 2001. In fact, these are the three oldest edits that currently exist on Wikipedia. 11 years is no joke!

Read more about Wikipedia’s very first articles here.

The First Amazon Item To Be Sold

first amazon item   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

Amazon sells millions of items every month. We order things on Amazon without thinking twice, but what was the very first item ever sold? Not surprisingly, it was a book. Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, who initially named the company Cadabra, and meant for it to be an online book store. Almost 20 years ago, on July 1995, Amazon sold its first book, a science textbook by the name of “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought” by Douglas Hofstadter. Just in case you’re wondering, you can still get this book on Amazon, even for the Kindle!

Read more about the history of Amazon here.

The First eBay Item To Be Sold

broken laser pointer   Go Back In Time: The First Ever YouTube Video, Tweet, Image, Website, Email, & More

So the first Amazon item to ever be sold was a book. Not surprising for an online bookstore. But what was the first item to ever be sold on eBay? As we all know, eBay sells everything from used hats to vanilla beans, and there’s almost nothing you can’t find if you know how to look.

eBay was founded as AuctionWeb by Pierre Omidyar in 1994. Started as a hobby, Omidyar put up several items for sale on his website, and in 1995 managed to sell his first-ever item: a broken laser pointer which sold for just over $14. According to Omidyar, the person who bought it knew it was broken, and claimed to be collecting broken laser pointers. How much do you think a broken laser pointer would bring on eBay today?

Learn more about eBay’s history here.


This was without a doubt one of the most interesting posts I’ve ever researched for MakeUseOf. Aside from the trivia side of it, it’s also truly inspiring. The small thing we invent today can be tomorrow’s history before we know it!

Know some more trivia bits about the history of the Web? Do share them in the comments!

Image credit: Wesley Fryer

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Ale Bendersky

Nice! Youtube´s case is unbelievable. From 0 to 1.65 billion in only a year and a half

Gideon Pioneer

Hahaha. A person collecting broken laser pens… riiiight xD

Fascinating article. Thanks for that!

Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo

What about Facebook’s first status? Or Reddit(becoming more and more popular)’s first legitimate post(this one might be tough, since the creator said that first they placed ‘phantom’ posters to post content, until at some day, users started making the list of content)?

And what was Make Use Of’s first article about?

Great job on finding these and the additional information though. Very informative :)

Yaara Lancet

I actually tried finding the first status on Facebook, but since the network went through so many different iterations, it’s hard to pinpoint the very first status or decide what it is.

As for Reddit, didn’t think about it! I actually never use Reddit.

I think the very first MakeUseOf post was about a sticky note app. :) Way back in 2006!

Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo

Oh, okay. And I don’t use Reddit either, but since the increasing popularity after Obama used it, I thought it might be a nice touch :)

And you’re right, the first article is indeed about an app for making notes. Memento: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/memento/

I like how it’s the first article and it already has a person talking about bookmarking MUO. Did you guys already expect to grow to such a big amount of subscribers or were you guys just expecting some hundreds?

Yaara Lancet

MakeUseOf was started 6 years ago by Aibek and Kaly, I’m not sure what they expected when they started in terms of numbers, but they sure did a good job with it!

Shmuel Mendelsohn

Anyone out there, is that correct? Does anyone have a copy of the article?

Ashok Sundar

Good going… :)

Jeff Hamilton

Never really thought about it. Kinda like the first music video on MTV, huh?

Yaara Lancet

I guess!

Philip Nelson

There are music videos on MTV?

Jeff hamilton

Well, there used to be.

Igor Rizvi?

Very interesting,thanks for sharing


I don’t remember most of the things, but my First Youtube Video was a video from 432 Anniversary of my town, Coamo, and first Webpage that I visited was Starmedia.com xD

Yaara Lancet

That’s really cool that you remember that! I remember several of my first websites, but not the very first one. And I really don’t remember my first YouTube video!


Starmedia.com was on the time of 1999-2001, the most interesting a visited Latin website after Terra.com, according to friends.

A. Daniel

Is amazing how the internet is evolving and how it has changed the way we communicate learn and behave. This is just the tip of the iceberg… Scary!

Kaashif Haja

Old is Gold!! :D

Shakirah Faleh Lai

Google.com is the first thing I use when get started.


I would love to know the first Makeuseof article .

Eserpess der

Isnt history awsome! XD

Ahmed Khalil

history class? it is nice to see old things like this, but it is just for fun


Cool stuff here…very interesting to see what these have turned into…

Mani Ahmed

awsome review … at the age of 34 i so feel addicted to old internet time .. the sabeer bhatia times (the hotmail guy) well for me he was the first email thingy we ever got … well done!

Irshaad Abdool

very interesting article

euu, what was the first article posted on MakeUseOf? :P
and whats the story of MUO?

Muhammad Ahmad

Really inspiring post. Thanks for sharing nice info.

Ashwin Ramesh

Haha.. the first youtube video was funny :P Thanks for the article, Yaara!

rama moorthy

Nice … what s the first MakeUseOf artcicle ..?
Google.com is my first web visit and also know my first gmail Id , yahoo Id,Hotmail Id and dropbox ,cx , Google drive and ADrive accounts. and MUO article and many things…


how about first audio?
or first search on the internet(is this even possible)?

Yaara Lancet

I actually tried to find the first search, or at least the first search query on Google, but it was impossible to find, at least for me.

First audio is an interesting idea! Didn’t think of that one. :)

Usman Mubashir

Now this is something enjoyable.

Arron Walker

Pretty cool look into the past – nice job, and intruiging read.

Sebastian Hadinata

Interesting article, should add more if possible. First facebook post, first friendster, etc.

Yaara Lancet

I tried finding the first Facebook post, but it’s not that easy to find!

Rajaa Chowdhury

Fascinating and makes one nostalgic.


This article was one of the best articles I’ve ever read and I translated it to Persian @ http://esmaeil.net

Ellen Odza

A broken laser pointer? Really? Weird.

Mudit Warrior

not a new one… But ok

Joshua L

Very cool article. I love seeing how far things have come.

Joshua L

Thanks for the post! I love seeing where we came from. It’s so easy to forget just how far things have come in such a short period of time.

Shawnee McKee

This is so pointless but funny and interesting at the same time!


History oh, Very interesting to know them

Charlita McPheeters


Adjei Kofi

wow. amazing. the world is indeed ‘changing’

Akash Kotak



Ha! Now this is pretty cool stuff

David Yaroshevsky

kinda interesting to go back to all the internet giants’ roots

Raabster Raabe

Love it – adding it to my “The Cloud” lesson on Monday – teaching Millennium Babes this year (Grades 8 & 9) and they are FASCINATED by this trivia.

Mahesh Bansod

But from which website was the first email sent?

Anandu B Ajith

thanks I Need This For My Project