Many mainstream outlets are describing VidCon 2015 as a gathering of teenagers who attended to collect signatures and selfies of their favorite YouTubers. While that may be one aspect of the conference, the media is missing the whole story. The core culture of geeking out over creating content was alive and well at the 6th annual VidCon.
Hank and John Green, creators of the vlogbrothers channel and a plethora of educational content on YouTube, started VidCon in 2010 with creators in mind.
“With the explosion in fan attendance to VidCon in 2014, we got a lot of feedback that hobbyists and upcoming creators felt out of place in the community track but couldn’t afford the industry track and were considering not coming back to VidCon,” Hank has said in a recent Tumblr post. “This was a huge crisis in my mind because I originally made VidCon mostly for those people and I think they’re a hugely important to this community.”
The main solution to this problem was the introduction of the creator track. Those with purple creator badges could access the second floor and attend exclusive panels and workshops on how to create online video. There were also various creator lounges, including the Vimeo Studio, where you could grab some free coffee, swag, and learn more about creating content. This was a very reasonable solution as the creator badge was only $50 more than the community badge.
Another aspect of the convention that helps maintain a core friendly and nerdy community every year is the VidCon Lonewolves. This is a group that exists for people who are coming to VidCon alone or who simply want to make new friends. Groups like the Lonewolves help keep the community of VidCon alive and well as it expands further into mainstream celebrity culture. Getting involved in a group like the Lonewolves is great for people who want to connect with fellow fans and creators to consume and create content with.
Each year VidCon is responsible for both reacting to and dictating the culture of online video. What happens at VidCon is a representation of YouTube’s culture. Their team has to gauge what people want while also promoting the ideals they think are important. They have to adapt to the celebrity status of their featured creators while encouraging attendees to create awesome content themselves. It’s a balancing act that comes with some inevitable failures. But this year, VidCon hit the sweet spot.
Whether you want to fangirl about Dan and Phil or glean knowledge from industry experts, there is a place at VidCon for you. No matter what type of attendee you are there’s just one thing you need to remember at VidCon: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.