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Through The Rear-View Mirror: The Most Viewed YouTube Videos Of 2012

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By Shruti Kesavan:

2012 has been kind to us in more ways than possible, be it just by postponing the apocalypse and making it possible for us to see 2013 or by introducing us to things never seen before. The year had more than usual to give us, be it the ‘invisible horse dance‘ from Gangnam style to an awakening with the documentary ‘Kony 2012′. Here is a brief review of the most viewed videos on YouTube which includes documentaries, songs, game trailers, and movie trailers to name a few.

Gangnam style (most viewed song)

Topping the list with a whooping 1 billion views in the past year, Gangnam style was the one tune everyone was dancing to. To know a little about the song and the artist, the genre this song belongs to is known as K-pop (Korean Popular Music) which includes other genres like R&B, bubblegum pop, and hip hop. The artist goes with the name of PSY (for those who might have trouble in deciphering its pronunciation, well it is similar to ‘psycho’ or ‘sigh’ to be more kind).

The video was released in July 2012 and by December it had more than a billion views, surpassing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’. The song is associated with neologism or the lifestyle of the Gangnam District of Seoul which is similar to Beverly Hills. The awards the video won range from ‘Most viewed K-pop video on YouTube‘, ‘Most liked video on YouTube‘, ‘First K-pop song to top UK singles chart‘ and ‘First video to get a billion views in YouTube history’.

This song not only topped the charts of 30 odd countries but also had Barack Obama and David Camron(Prime Minister of Britain) trying to shake a leg for this tune. An interesting trivia I found was, ‘oppan’ as used in the song, refers to a term used by girls to refer to an older brother or a male acquaintance. Food for the soul indeed!

Kony 2012 (most viewed documentary)

Kony 2012 was a heart-rending documentary by Jason Russell featuring his son Gavin and his friend Jacob. This documentary has an interesting origination as Jason happens to meet Jacob a few years ago and then finds out the dark secret hidden in the depths of northern Uganda of Central Africa. Jacob happens to be one of the captives held by Joseph Kony who not only abducts children but also rapes them and forcefully makes these children kill their family and become either his sex slaves or his child soldiers. This was more of an awareness documentary which stayed online only till the 31st of December 2012. The main aim is to bring about the awareness among people as almost 99% people have no clue about who he is or what he does. Kony not only encourages the kids to mutate people’s faces but also kill their own parents to join his rebel group. Jacob was only one among 30,000 odd innocent lives transformed into monsters in front of their very eyes. The documentary is also authenticated by President Barack Obama. Kony happens to be the number one international criminal according to a statistics provided in 2005. This video not only brings about awareness but also provides an example of how even a simpleton can bring about a change if he desires. The video got 96 million views and is the second most viewed video on YouTube.

Someone like you- Adele (most viewed Karaoke song)

This song belongs to the album 21. The song revolves around a broken relationship and how she (Adele) is coming to terms with it. She was in an 18 month long relationship with her 30-year-old boyfriend whom she intended to marry. Few months after their tragic break-up, he got engaged to someone else and that was when she came up with this song. Not only does she mention that it was a song closest to her heart but also says she would never ever write a song this personal again. The song topped charts all over the world and she also received huge acclaim for this rendition. Adele became the first female British singer in the history of Billboards hot 100 to have two hit numbers from the same album. She also was the first recipient of the Grammy awards for ‘Best pop solo‘ at the 54th Grammy awards. The song got a huge 87 million views only to prove her reason to be on top for so long.

Pumped up kids-Dubstep (most viewed dance video)

There is honestly not much to describe about this video as you just don’t get enough words to describe the talent displayed by Marquese Scott. His dance moves can be compared to Michael Jackson or our very own Prabhu Deva. The video got almost 77 million views; the only phrase that can be used here would be “go view it!

Why this Kolaveri di (most searched song in India)

The song belonged to a movie named ‘3’. The song was sung by Tamil actor Dhanush and the music director was Anirudh Ravichander. The genre this song belongs to is Tamil folk. It is a nonsensical song which is sung by the singer when he is drunk after being dumped by his girlfriend. The song is also referred to as ‘soup song’ which is a colloquial Tamil word which refers to young men experiencing failure in their love life. The song gained fame overnight and was also used by police in Tamil Nadu to encourage riders to drive carefully and wear helmets. The song was also undertaken as a project by IIM to study why it became so popular. The song received many awards and was also played in the Republic day retreat ceremony in 2012.

Epic rap battle between Obama and Romney (most viewed political parody)

It is a parody of the political face-off between Obama and Romney for the Presidential elections in the year 2012. The video got an unexpected 50 million views and it basically revolves around a list of personal attacks by both parties. Be it Romney mentioning the 2008 elections or Obama’s “winning complexion” or Obama retorting with comments pointing out to Romney’s dislike towards the gay community or his three wives. You see Obama also referring to Romney as a white cheesecake and many such other remarks. It ends with Abraham Lincoln landing with the help of an eagle and remarking “President will not be the shiniest of the two turds”. It’s a fun video which is not to be taken seriously.

A dramatic surprise on a quiet square (most viewed advertisement)

It starts with a button being placed in the middle of the street saying “push to add drama”. There were a few brave souls who did push the button, and on doing so a whole lot of drama is poured your way from a scantily dressed woman on a bike to football players to everything you can possibly think of. Towards the end there is a banner that reads “your daily dose of drama from 10/04 on Telenet. We know drama.” This was an advertisement for the launch of a TV channel in Belgium which was out on 11th April, the video got a massive 42 million views.

Call of duty- Black OPS II (most viewed game trailer)

This game is the first shooter video game (FPS) which basically gives you a more realistic feeling and was developed by Treyarch and received more than 35 million views. It was released on November 12th 2012 for Microsoft windows, Play Station 3 and Xbox 360. Since I clearly had no idea about gaming I happened to ask my friend Amandeep as to what exactly sets this game apart, and his response was “you can fight against an enemy with a friend anywhere across the world due to the online multiple player mode, and it is worth playing because of its amazing battle scenes.” Clearly a boy’s best friend it seems.

The dark knight rises (most viewed movie trailer)

A movie trailer always seems to give us a glimpse of something much awaited especially if it’s a Batman movie and if it’s also happens to be the third of its sort. The trailer was safe to give out only as much as required with catchy phrases and eye catching visuals. The trailer got an incredible 32 million views and is still counting.

Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k (most viewed adventure video)

Felix is an Austrian sky diver and a BASE jumper. The jump was done under the name of ‘Project Red Bull Stratos’ in which he jumps of a helium balloon from the stratosphere on October 14th 2012. He took his plunge after flying to an altitude of 39,045 metres (128,100 feet) thereby also making a world record. His maximum speed was 1342.8 km/hr (833mph) through the vacuum of the stratosphere. The jump was a 4.20 minute video put up on YouTube by Red Bull. The other titles he has won include highest free fall and highest manned balloon flight.

2012 in retrospect has only increased our expectations from 2013, so here is wising everyone a Happy New year and here’s to hoping 2013 has more to offer and pleasantly surprise us with.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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