VidCon Recap: It’s About More Than Just YouTube

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This year’s VidCon may have already come and gone, but here at NMR, what we’ve learned from the three-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center will stay forever. Vidcon was about having the biggest, boldest and most intriguing YouTube talents personally interact with thousands of obsessed fans, making for one hell of a convention. If you haven’t checked out our interviews with Maker Studios, Optic Nation, Reckless Tortuga, the “Leap Year” cast and My Damn Channel, you’re in for a treat.

Of course, we weren’t just there to catch up with the biggest YouTube celebrities or to hob-knob with studios. We noticed quite a few things as we walked down the halls of the Convention Center, and here’s what we’ve learned from this year’s VidCon:

A Whole Cast Of Characters

Just entering the main hall of the Anaheim Convention Center makes you realize that you’re not just at any fan convention; you’re at an event where fans and creators truly share space. What better place than VidCon to find screaming, giggling fans snaking through the main hall just to see Smosh, or The Discovery Channel presenting its best productions via its Revision3 network? The sheer amount of people dying to meet their favorite new media artists or looking to advance in the YouTube food chain brought in a wide variety of characters to the event and didn’t have just fans or advertisers dominating. In short—there was something for everyone.

YouTube Artists Are Inspirational

Talking to fans at these events is probably one of the more fascinating things to do. For instance, one of our writers met an obsessed fan who told him that ShayCarl inspired her to move to Southern California to pursue her dream of acting. Her family didn’t believe in her, her friends didn’t care, but ShayCarl–who has to please millions of Shaytards–is the one who really pushed her to follow her calling. Good for her. If a guy you’ve never met before is inspiring you on YouTube to follow your dreams, then there’s no limit to where these fans can go.

Advertisers Are Getting It

If there’s anything that shows the compelling power of YouTube, it’s that advertisers are getting it. Like many big conventions that are growing, you’re going to have a fair amount of companies that have little to do with YouTube or the YouTube celebrity community in general, sharing their wares or products to anyone and everyone. Orabrush is one example of a company that has nothing to do with YouTube or the Web in general, but apparently found that people liked their instructional YouTube video on how to improve oral hygiene using their unique tongue brush. If the video hadn’t of blown up, I and the thousands of other people attending VidCon would not have had their bad breath problems fixed. If a company like Orabrush gets that YouTube is a goldmine, expect the atmosphere to become more corporate come VidCon 2013.

Networks Taking Over

The big networks on YouTube have really made their presence known at VidCon this year. If you wanted to know more about Maker Studios, all you had to do was find the big hanging installation with their logo, and you’re at their booth. If you checked out Big Frame’s booth, they welcomed their fans through a lounge setting equipped with a colorful installation, a chalk wall and old school video arcade games. With the prohibitively high price of setting up your own booth (and making it elaborate too), networks and independent artists flush with money will definitely make their presence known for VidCons to come.

It’s Only Getting Started

The only problem with VidCon is that it didn’t take up enough space in the main hall. I can’t blame them—it’s still an emerging industry with high hopes. If it keeps up the pace—going from 2,500 attendees in 2011 to about 7,000 this year—they’ll be having 12,000 YouTube celebrities, tongue-cleaning brush hawkers, Smosh t-shirt sellers and a gaggle of screaming, inspired fans in no time. This year’s VidCon may be over, but this is only the beginning for the YouTube community in gathering the best, brightest and most-obsessed around.

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