This is what YouTube looked like in 2013

December 11, 2013
The Post's Hayley Tsukayama dissects YouTube's list of the top videos from its site in 2013. (Hayley Tsukayama and Sandi Moynihan/The Washington Post)

YouTube has compiled its top videos of 2013, and — if you’re anything like us — the resulting hodgepodge of beards, break-dancing and animal masks will have you feeling old and vaguely out of touch.

The “YouTube Rewind,” as the online video giant has dubbed it, includes contributions from more than 60 YouTube stars and sends up everything from “Blurred Lines” to Prancerise. “The Fox,” a silly pop parody by Norwegian duo Ylvis, was the site’s top-trending video of 2013, followed by the unavoidable “Harlem Shake”; top music videos included that Psy song that isn’t “Gangham Style,” as well as Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop.”

But stars like Psy and Cyrus are obvious inclusions — it’s the YouTube personalities that stand out. YouTube celebrity is a peculiar and undiscriminating brand of fame, one that has touched children, adults and anthropomorphic citrus fruits alike.

Kid President, the pint-sized comedian who once famously interviewed the actual president, opens the clip in his trademark suit before handing it off to the likes of Ryan Higa (10.9 million subscribers) and Jenna Marbles (11.6 million subscribers). Higa has parlayed his YouTube fame into a quasi-successful movie career. Marbles (real name: Mourey) is a blogger/comedian/dog-toy-designer who, per the highly authoritative site Celebritynetworth.com, makes multiple millions on videos with names like “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking” and “What girls do in the car.”

How one comes to reign over a viral video empire may prove more interesting than the videos themselves. (Case in point: What is up with “How Animals Eat Their Food”?) But we’ll let you judge for yourselves — YouTube’s five most popular videos of 2013 are embedded below.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Jessica Stahl · December 11, 2013