This is a video response to Jackson Perkins about small time YouTubers struggling to make it big, while also presenting myself as a candidate for the “Less Than Famous” panel at VidCon this coming summer.
My friend Steve (fizzylimon), who is currently teaching English in Korea, went to VidCon and pranked all this friends. He asked us if we wanted to be in his VidCon video, which we all said yes, and well…he got us good.
I really didn’t know what to expect from VidCon this year, but after tonight, it became quite apparent. YouTube has became an industry, but even with the shift, the community at its core, is still very strong.
Being at the TubeFilter & Big Frame #PreParty event, I couldn’t help but feel out of place. This wasn’t a party; this was an event. It was present as if it was a big media show to demonstrate the success of the 2 respected companies and what they’re doing for the industry. I get it, YouTube is a business. To which, congrats to BigFrame for their $3 million seed funding. However, as a community member and as someone who studies YouTube, I felt disconnected.
The #PreParty was meant to flaunt. However, it did everything but flaunt. Well, unless you count the helicopter entrance. But seriously, if you’re hosting a sponsored event, your guest should not be expected to pay for their own food or drinks. Secondly, if you promise certain people to show up, they need to be there early & stay late. They can’t show up as they will. Thirdly, some of your signed partners really felt out of place there. Perhaps they don’t belong there to begin with or maybe they were there for obligation. In the end, the #PreParty was a bust.
Even as disappointing as the #PreParty was, I’m glad I went. It’s always interesting to see where YouTube is heading. This is a great demonstration of where it could head, if it keep its current path. The other part, I was over joyed seeing journalists & fellow YouTubers/community members whom I haven’t seen in awhile.
Now the big contrast is the completely #OrdinaryTour. It was exactly not what the #PreParty was. Instead, it was focused on the community. It doesn’t present any press and any knowledge of it stems from word of mouth. #OrdinaryTour, to best put it, is the reaction to where YouTube is heading. The focus is on the community; the community that made YouTube what it is today.
YouTubers, big and small, come together to celebrate WITH the community. Something outside of VidCon but in its true core, the heart of VidCon. Though I missed the first half of the show, I really felt at home for the second half. It was for the community by the community. No one was more special than the other. Everyone was who they were for the community that loves them and they have come to love.
This year’s VidCon will be intersting. If tonight taught me anything, it is #PreParty against #OrdinaryTour: Industry vs Community. Looking at tonight, #OrdinaryTour out did #PreParty. We’ll see what the rest of VidCon will bring.
I’ve been struggling trying to find the words to properly summarize VidCon 2010. I would not say that it was the best weekend ever nor was it far from perfect, but VidCon made a huge impression on myself and all those in attendance. The one resounding point of VidCon that kept on echoing throughout the weekend was community.
How does one explain community? Anyone can discuss it, write about or describe it, but community is meant to be experienced. I’m struggling how to describe my experience of VidCon, in hopes that I can truly capture and reflect the experience I had this past weekend. So tonight, I was talking to my YouTube friend Terri (Tezzitoo) from Australia, who could not make it to VidCon, and she told me to start from the beginning. And that’s when it hit me. The beginning means the community and what’s more community than experiencing it. And I truly experienced community at VidCon, but I am also experiencing community as I’m chatting away with Terri.
VidCon is a conference that was organized by the YouTube community for the YouTube community. It wasn’t like YouTube gatherings of the past where people would come together and hang out. VidCon was meant to gather the community together and celebrate the community.
Though the average age of attendees were under the legal drinking age of 21, the age difference didn’t prevent people of all types connecting, celebrating, dancing and most importantly, bonding as the YouTube community. I had a the opportunity to talk to a middle age mother who brought her 14 year old daughter and her friend to VidCon from Virginia. The mother, though not out of the loop to technology and social media, was blow away by the energy and positivity of the YouTube community. It is because of YouTube that her daughter is passionate about changing the world and is striving hard at an early age to make a difference. Barriers that were present for teenagers no longer exists because of the YouTube community. The mother credits YouTube for the opportunities that her daughter has, which she never thought would be possible.
What makes it all possible for the younger audience of YouTube is the passion and positivity of the video content creators. Most major YouTubers who make videos for the young community are between the age of 20-32. From comedic parodies to inspiring vlogs, the content creator realizes the importance of their audience. Their audience looks up to them and listens to them; in return, they respond by connecting with their audience. There is no dichotomy between the content creator and the audience. Age in itself is irrelevant. What matters is the community; a community where everyone is equal. One may be more talented than the other, but it does not put the content creator on a pedestal. Everyone is the same.
I was privilege enough to attend VidCon with Ashley, Jenn and Nico. We made up an unofficial 20SB delegation. Jenn and Nico were going for work and as outsiders. Ashley, though not involved in the YouTube community as I am, is very well aware of the awesome that is present at VidCon. As for myself, I knew a lot of YouTubers coming into the conference. There were still many more that I want to meet and befriend with, but to the 20SB and blogging community, I’m considered as a YouTuber.
Watching people run around, meeting people and celebrating the YouTube community, it caught each of us off guard. (Read the VidCon reactions from Ashley, Jenn and Nico). What got me was how alive, present and tangible the YouTube community. I’ve been to large and mini YouTube gatherings before, but nothing could prepare me what was before me. A community alive, thriving and living out the meaning of community.
Seeing the YouTube community truly alive and before me for the first time was overwhelming. As an active participant of the community, I felt distant and alone. I never seen so many people with a common interest and passion in one place before. I didn’t know how to respond. Everyone was more connected and famous than myself, I wondering if I could even connect and contribute to this community. I was intimidated and scared.
If there’s one thing that the YouTube community has shown me over the years, it’s extremely warm and welcoming. Even though I was caught off guard at the scale of awesome before me, it was the awesome that reminded me why I am so involved. From John Green yelling, “Hey! Phampants is here!” aloud in the vendor room, to Monica stopping to give me a hug as she scurried around leading the speakers around or even meeting Amanda for the first time; I realized that this community, though large, is truly very close and tight knit. It’s the close bond that we have that makes us so supportive of each other and passionate for what we do.
It’s is the close bond of the community that I had the honor of carrying two postcards around to collect signatures of other YouTubers. Terri and Kevin (BusanKevin), both who have been extremely supportive of my work on YouTube, could not attend VidCon. So I decided to bring VidCon to them as I searched for YouTubers that they wanted to meet and have those people sign the card for them. It is because of the community that I had the opportunity to do something amazing like this and to connect the community present to the community that was abroad.
With all this talk about community, the YouTube community itself kept on reminding each other of an extremely important note throughout the weekend. Ze Frank spoke it best by saying at his keynote, “Authenticity is hard work.” Anyone could be anyone else, but to be truly yourself takes a lot of work. And every single YouTuber I met, big or small, repeated that one way or another: “Be yourself,” “Do what you love,” “Be authentic,” “Be proud of who you are.” And it’s because of the authenticity of YouTube, trolls aside of course, that makes the community so successful. As long as you are yourself, you’re able to go a long way.
Flying home, I had the joyful luck of sitting next to Craig (WheezyWaiter) and Peter (PeterCoffin). We could not give more resounding praise to a fantastic weekend and thank the Vlogbrothers enough for organizing VidCon. From big timers like Craig and Peter to a nobody like myself, we all agreed that VidCon energized us and reaffirmed why we are part of such an amazing community. When I asked them how they’re able to do what they do, they shared the same answer: they don’t do anything special, they’re just themselves.
This is why VidCon struck me hard and impressed me greatly. It was a YouTube conference for YouTubers by YouTubers. It consists of people who are authentic and genuine that comes together to form a greater community. A community that is welcoming and treats each other like equals. A community that is passionate about their work and about promoting good to changing the world for the better. The YouTube community and VidCon never forgot to be awesome.