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This article was published on December 7, 2016

It’s been twelve years since Numa Numa and viral videos suck now

Juan Buis
Story by

Juan Buis

Digital Culture Reporter

Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here. Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here.

Remember 2004? It was the year Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, Google introduced the world to Gmail and DreamWorks thought it was a good idea to release Shrek 2.

It was also the year of Numa Numa, one of the first viral internet videos.

On December 6, Gary Brolsma uploaded a video to Newgrounds, which used to be the hotbed of internet creativity in the early 00s. He had filmed himself dancing to O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei on a $5 webcam, and because YouTube didn’t exist yet, converted the video to a flash file to get it on the website.

Looking at it today makes me feel weird — it’s a mix of nostalgia and confusion. Why did we think a 90-second video of a guy dancing in a chair was so funny? What made millions of people around the world decide to share the link with their friends?

It doesn’t matter. Two years after the original upload, the BBC crowned it as the second most popular internet video at the time having been viewed 700 million times — just 200 million short of Star Wars Kid‘s first place.

Brolsma took advantage of his temporary fame as Numa Numa guy by releasing a semi-professionally produced video in 2006:

Even though that was where the story should’ve ended, he then randomly went back to his homemade video roots with ‘Crazy Loop’.

Twelve years later, the internet is a very different place.

We have Adele’s carpool karaoke, something with pens and pineapples and guys flipping water bottles. There are vloggers in expensive airplane seats, someone cutting open a rattlesnake rattle and John Oliver dissecting Donald Trump.

Viral videos today are often well-produced clips created by television or YouTube celebrities, deliberately made to reach millions of people. There’s nothing left of the innocence of Brolsma’s upload, that was originally meant as a joke for a few of his friends — and that’s a sad thing.