I went to VidCon this year as a volunteer. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of new people, reconnect with many of my friends, and had my expectations met or exceeded on every day I was there.
During the event, as well as after I got home I heard many people express the same views that I had. I actually thought, there is no need for me to recap VidCon, because the people who went, knew exactly what I experienced and the people who didn’t go were in the ‘enough already with you guys gushing over this’ frame of mind.
Then I read two articles that cast VidCon in a more negative light. You can read them here and here. I also saw a video of a vlogger who complained about the venue and the event becoming too big.My mind was boggled by this. Did those people go to the same event, I went to? Apparently, they did, but with a very different mindset.
Now let me address those two articles.
The ReadWriteWeb article was not happy about the mixture of young and old attendees as well as the mixture of business and community people at one big Con. To this I say, Youtube itself is a mixture of these things. Companies and big youtubers who want to make money, do business and adhere to contracts live side by side with little youtubers who came for the community aspect of the site and simply rejoice in making videos for the fun of it. I am one of those little you tubers. I always have been and always will be. Different people and different channels on youtube have different auspices. And as such is the case, VidCon is a very spot on representation of what is happening on youtube on a daily basis.
The business women who commented that she was surrounded by kids, might want to remember that those kids are her potential customers and rejoice in a chance to meet them personally. Also, I do not see Wheezywaiter as an older content creator who just figured out how to work youtube. I bet he doesn’t either.
I can see the need to expand the conference a day, because there is just so much good content that deserves to be showcased. However, I don’t think that it is physically possible for the brothers Green as well as the event staff to go full blast for another day or two. When you’re going to VidCon and especially when you’re working at VidCon, you have to just accept that you won’t sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at night for the time the event goes on. I was there as a simple volunteer, I only had my morning shifts on Friday and Saturday. So I was not even that much involved and still I got very tired very quickly. Some of the super admins were doing whole day shifts and had been since Monday or Tuesday. And I can tell you, those super admins were on the go all the time, putting out fires that general attendees did not even see the smoke of. And all of us still managed to sing the double rainbow song together when it played on the main stage.
The independence article only focussed of the fangirl/fanboy aspect of VidCon, which simply showed a very limited understanding of what the whole Con was. In addition to that, it was my experience that the fan aspect of the event was handled much better this year than last year and the fans themselves were more civil. People in general showed much courtesy, understanding, and gratitude.
My personal experience with big youtubers and people I admire were very positive, indeed. I spoke with both John and Hank, without ever expecting it. I ran into Andrew Slack at an elevator and got a big hug. I rode an elevator with Julia Nunes, but didn’t bother her, because she looked beat. I talked with Myles Dyer, and he remembered me from last year. I literally ran into Ze Frank and got a picture with him. I hung out with JB Dazen, Drnoise, and many other talented youtubers. I had a long breakfast with Ardie Collins. I stayed in a room with Meg, Chelsea and Maja from Norway. I worked with my good friend Tiff, who was a super admin and made me see all the work that got into the event. I got to talk with Mickeleh and Martha Stroud. I practically lived in the open mic room when I could and I got a personal thank you from Carver, the head of staff for being a volunteer.
I did not go with the expectation to meet any of the big names. I did go with the expectation to hang out with my old friends and make some new ones. Everything else was just a positive surprise. Icing on an already awesome cake, so to speak. So I would say, VidCon is what you make of it.
See you all next year!