Almost every time somebody references a movie or TV show, I’m unfamiliar with it. I like to joke that I’m “cinematically illiterate.” Instead of binge-watching Breaking Bad or seeing the Academy’s nominations for Best Picture, I consume video mainly on YouTube.
Most of what I watch isn’t even the big YouTubers either–I mostly interact with small/medium video bloggers (anywhere from 5 subscribers to 40k). For me, it’s all about building relationships and participating in a community where people encourage each other and are passionate about their hobby rather than constantly strategizing and calculating how to get more subscribers to earn a higher paycheck.
I’ve been making videos for over 2 years now, including participating in VEDA last year and this year, and doing so has made me more creative and articulate. It’s also introduced me to some of the kindest, most supportive people I’ve ever met, and I’m so thrilled I got to meet a bunch of them this weekend at VidCon.
VidCon is a convention with panels, concerts, and networking opportunities surrounding YouTube. More than that, though, it’s a chance to make friends with people who love the same things you do. Whether your thing is high-pitched screaming and stalking famous YouTubers in their hotels or if you’d prefer going to open mic shows and playing Cards Against Humanity with new friends, VidCon has something for everyone.
Besides finally meeting some of my best internet friends, I also loved attending panels. The Less Than Famous panel featured small/medium video bloggers discussing the unique blend of the advantages and disadvantages of their size–namely, they can have incredibly thought-provoking interactions with their viewers, yet because the site’s algorithms further promote the already-famous YouTubers it can be hard to grow an audience. It definitely rekindled my interest in vlogging, which has taken a backseat to this written blog since January.
I also loved the Sex on YouTube panel, which discussed sex education channels and the difficulties that come with hosting one. I wrote about the topic for Buzzsaw magazine, and I got to meet one of the women I interviewed at the panel. It was really exciting to finally talk to her about the medium in person (rather than email) and reiterate how much I appreciate her help and contribution.
The panels were fascinating and at times educational, but VidCon is also about fun. I danced for almost the entirety of two mainstage concerts and went to three open mic sessions featuring YouTube musicians, including one where my now-real-life friend sang a song about cake.
Throughout the convention, I celebrated other three firsts: my first visit to Disneyland as an adult (I failed to fulfill my goal of not getting sunburnt but loved every minute anyway), my first brinner at Denny’s (oh hi blueberry pancakes), and my first In-N-Out Burger (someone please explain the hype to me, I found it mediocre).
Overall, VidCon 2014 was a truly awesome experience filled with collaboration, friendship, and late night puns. Who cares if I’m cinematically illiterate, I have YouTube. And that’s all I really need.
This is the second entry of my Firsts series, which details one of my life’s “firsts” on the first of every month. To read about the first time I had pizza delivered, click here. You can also watch my one-minute summary below.