A barometer of YouTube's success is its fan convention Vidcon, which took place over the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. The location was a step up from last year's smaller Hyatt Century Plaza, as this year the event attracted a reported 7,000 attendees, about twice as many as last year.
The main stage had a lineup of YouTube stars performing skits and singing songs, plus smaller breakout sessions on subjects like hip-hop, moving from web to television or how to make your audio better. An area was set aside for fans to stand in line to meet their favorite stars at certain times, but in reality the YouTube stars wandering around the convention were always followed by lines of fans trying to interact with them. Each mini-crowd of people we encountered inevitably had at its center a goofy-looking guy with tussled hair or a cute teenage girl with heavy makeup, with a name no one over 25 has heard.
Here are 10 of the more bizarre observations from Vidcon.
10. The list of companies with booths on the convention floor included VYou, Youped, You Now, Vuier, We Video, Channel Independent and My Damn Channel.
9. On the main stage, someone was introduced with the words “one of my favorite content creators” and “from the series Retarded Policeman.”
8. Middle schooler Sarah Brown from West L.A. and her friend Jessica Tye stood in line for two hours to have British video blogger/musician Charlie McDonnell sign their ID badges. “He's really real and really relatable,” says Tye. They also stood in line to meet vlogger MeekaKitty. “She's just so crazy,” Brown says. And they stood in line to meet vlogger Brittani Louise Taylor. She's really funny, really nice and sweet,” says Brown. “I don't know what the word would be but she's really there for you.”
7. A panel was called “Being Under 18 on YouTube.” I think calling it “Teens on YouTube” would have sounded a little less creepy.
6. At that under-18 panel, Scarlett Turner admitted to doing a video without make-up, which is apparently sacrilege for a beauty guru. “A guru's not wearing make-up?!” she exclaimed in mock shock.
5. YouTube powerhouse Maker Studios announced that it was teaming with Snoop Dogg for shows for Snoop's YT channel WestFestTV. A testament to how far YouTube has come.
4. YouTube star Jenna Marbles presented the first Golden Poo award to Best Pet Featured in a YouTube Video in 2012. One of the nominees was a horse from Freddie Wong's video “Pimp My Horse.” The winner was a yellow cat that says “Pikachu.”
3. Well-known gamer Matt Woodworth on a panel affiliated with Machinima, the monster video game network: “When I play Call of Duty, there's always someone hyperventilating because they're playing with me.”
2. The most interesting guy I met was David Dorn from Kentucky, a grad student at a theological seminary who is merging YouTube with faith. The Methodist Annual Conference approached him to start a channel that merges a Philip DeFranco-style vlog sensibility with Bible study.
1. A pajama flash mob