In a video called "Close To Your Head," struggling artist-turned-YouTube star Terra Naomi sings lyrics she penned after receiving an encouraging message from one of her YouTube fans. The words might be a fitting theme song for the video-sharing site.
"We're standing on the edge of all that we imagined," sings Naomi, among the winners of YouTube's first annual video awards, which were announced Monday. "Keep it up. The stars are close to your head now. It's magical times that we live in."
Naomi's video "Say It's Possible" won in the Best Music video category.
San Bruno, Calif.-based YouTube named winners in seven video categories, including Most Creative (Ok Go, "Here It Goes Again"), Most Inspirational (PeaceOnEarth123, "Free Hugs Campaign") and Best Comedy (Smosh, "Smosh Short 2: Stranded").
For over a year, YouTube has tapped into the world's talent pool in an unprecedented way. The awards are the culmination of the company's transformation into a new entertainment medium.
A hundred years ago, people nailed pine planks atop whiskey barrels for the community's most talented people to perform on. YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley built an online stage where anyone in the world with Internet access can potentially play to an audience of millions.
In a surprise victory, "Ask a Ninja," the brainchild of comedians Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, won the Best Series category over Lonelygirl15, perhaps YouTube's best-known serial.
Australian Juan Mann's "Free Hugs" is a clip of him offering hugs to passerby. In the black-and-white opening, Mann's offer is rejected repeatedly. Finally, a small elderly woman stops, hugs him and then gently cups his face in her hands as color moves into the video.
The three-minute clip inspired others to launch their own free-hugs campaign in countries across the globe.
An animated video called "Kiwi," the tale about a kiwi bird who nails trees to the side of a mountain before jumping off the mountain's ledge in order to simulate flight, won for Most Adorable video.
A video called "Hotness Prevails" won for Best Commentary.