A few weeks ago I was in London with my friend, Meg, for Summer in the City. For those of you who don’t know what SitC is, it’s a YouTube gathering/convention where there are different panels to attend, meet and greets to queue for hours for, stalls to buy things and interesting people to meet.
I’d like to say before I continue that this was the first year that SitC was a ticketed event and there of course were a few kinks that need ironed out. HOWEVER, ultimately, I think it went brilliantly for it being the first time round on that scale.
It was a good weekend. I got a chance to hang one-on-one with Meg which we’ve not done in ages and it felt like we became closer. It also meant we got to talk a lot. And a lot of of that talking was about YouTube. We both are what YouTube deems “content creators” which means that we create videos for the site. Click here if you’d like to check out my channel and click here for Meg’s.
I started watching YouTube videos back in 2006/2007. I think the first person I ever subscribed to was Michael Buckley, and I’m still subscribed to him today. Back then, YouTube was just starting out as being an entertainment platform, vlogging had only just been coined as a term and the Shaytards channel was not yet in existence. Which seems odd to think of now. But I got to be part of this switch. I got to watch as people became “YouTube Famous” and gained followings of millions of people and they shot to stardom online which even in 2013 doesn’t make sense to most people.
YouTube has everything, which is why I think it’s so popular. You’ve got drama, you’ve got comedy, sometimes it’s serious, most times it’s not. You’ve got educational things like Sci-Show, and then you’ve got the same person on the vlogbrother’s channel creating songs using only Shakespearean insults.
However, there’s also something bizarre that happened when this switch took place. YouTube became a main factor in the entertainment industry and we became invested in people’s lives that we don’t know and without the internet would never have known about. The bizarre-ness, if I can create my own word, only really occurred to me during Summer in the City. I’m 20 years old and I was queuing for 4 hours to meet Tyler Oakley who is y’know a sweetheart, and funny and amazing and I love his videos. But I was 20 years old, surrounded by kids my younger sisters age. The only people older than me in that queue were some kids parents. And I started thinking, why am I queuing for 4 hours to meet a guy who films himself and puts it on YouTube? I’m surrounded by 14 year olds who won’t stop screaming. One in particular does not understand the concept of ‘personal space’ and will not stop leaning on me. Why am I now upset and angry because I’ve been told I wont meet Tyler Oakley because even though I was far enough past the cut-off line to be told I DEFINITELY would meet him, people jumped the queue and now it’s too long again.
All these questions are still bothering me a bit. No disrespect to Tyler, because like I said. Funny guy, makes brilliant content. I enjoy what he creates and he’s good at it. And he deserves the fans that he has and I’m sad I didn’t get to meet him.
I make YouTube videos because it’s my creative outlet. But I was surrounded by a bunch of kids that think that YouTube is going to be their get-rich-quick scheme and they’ll be famous and it’ll be fantastic. One 12 year old girl broke out her Canon 60D camera and started vlogging in the queue and I was like “That’s an awesome camera.” and she just went “Yeah, I’m going to get serious about vlogging so I thought it was worth the investment. Plus I’ll make the money back easily as soon as I start earning from YouTube.” If any of you watch Chris Kendall or crabstickz as he is on YouTube, you’ll know he created a character called Becca Hodgekins. Whilst most view that character as just a funny, over-exaggeration of a YouTube fan girl, the scary thing is that it’s actually kind of reality.
Am I saying it’s wrong to create content for YouTube? Of course not. I’d be a hypocrite then. Considering when I make a video I try and get as many people as possibly to watch it. (P.S I’m currently uploading one as I type this so go check it out *wink wink* *nudge nudge*) It does however concern me that kids are maybe expecting too much from it. It should ultimately be because you enjoy making videos, not because you want to get ‘famous’.
You just need to take a look at the comment section of popular videos to understand just how intense YouTube can be sometimes. Viewers seem to forget that the people they’re watching are real people and aren’t in existence solely for their entertainment. They start demanding things from who they watch and feeling like they have a right to say whatever they want to that person. Who they’re dating, who they’re not dating, are they gay, why are they dating this person instead of that person, why didn’t you tell us your cat died, we hate that hair colour on you dye it back, you’ve put on a lot of weight, i can’t believe you hid that from us, etc. etc. etc.
And let’s not even get started on the whole “shipping” situation…..
So, without further a-do, I think I’m done ranting for now. Tyler Oakley, if you’re reading this which you will not be, you’re awesome. Still bummed I didn’t get to meet you. Hank Green, not that you’re reading this either, the song based on purely Shakespearean insults is awesome and the Shaytards, keep being possibly the coolest people on the planet. And Michael Buckley, thanks for just being fantastic and taking the time to reply to me every single time I email you.