What, you’ve never heard of VidCon? You didn’t know that 18,000 YouTube creators and fans gathered in Anaheim last weekend to celebrate online video and take a lot of selfies with each other? Well it’s time to start paying attention – to VidCon, and the people it honors. Not only are YouTube creators innovating entertainment and making a buttload of money doing it, but their fanbase is rabid, loyal and growing like crazy. Vidcon has more than doubled in size since 2012, and soon the whole world will be attending. Don’t get left out! Here’s what you need to know.
1. It’s all about relationships
At VidCon we interviewed YouTube creators in back hallways because once out in the convention center, they were mobbed by fans. And the love is reciprocated: the YouTubers make time to hug and take selfies with every single person, and each gushed about the affection they feel for the people who devour their content. On the flip side, attendees told us that they love YouTube because it feels as though they know and are a part of the creators’ lives. Try having that kind of relationship with a TV show.
2. The teenage girl factor
The bulk of attendees at VidCon were young women. They did a ton of Beatles-mania like screaming and crying for their favorite online stars; it was complete mayhem most of them time. YouTubers are huge celebrities, and they’re treated as such. But don’t dismiss the screamers as just fans. They also packed panels and are creators themselves (or want to be). These are the same women who pushed The Fault In Our Stars to open #1 at the box office. They are powerful, engaged and deserve our attention. Not only are they driving the viewership on YouTube, but they could also become the next generation of stars. (Fingers crossed)