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2006 is only five years ago, but in the world of YouTube, it's practically an eternity.
"It was a magical era," says Ken Goldstein, known as KENRG on YouTube and across the social media landscape - he's one of YouTube's early vloggers. He was already a long-time blogger when he first came across the site - in fact, he was looking for video footage to supplement a blog post, and then discovered that YouTube offered the video equivelent of what he was already doing. He discovered Renetto, one of YouTube's earliest "stars," a spritied, outspoken raconteur, among other things, "and I thought, well, if he can do this, just sitting in front of a camera and talking to a camera and sharing it, I can certainly give that a try."
The idea of a social network was still new, then. MySpace was primarily for kids, Facebook was in it's earliest stages, and Twitter didn't even exist. In you wanted to interact socially online, YouTube was the best place to be.
"I think one of the most brilliant things that YouTube did in the early days that helped the community and the art of vlogging...was the video response...not just that you could comment, but I could comment on your comment." Through their videos, directly attached as comments to another's vlogger's video, a video conversation followed, "That's really where it stated, and that's the magic of where it started in 2006, when there was a limited universe of us vlogging back and forth with each other."
With file uploads limited to 100 megabytes, YouTuber's had few other options, "You had to be short, do high quality stuff that was very short, or you could talk forever, but make your file so small that it was grainy, but it didn't matter. It didn't matter."
Ken isn't by any means dismissive of the dramatic changes over the years on YouTube - he remains a regular user and viewer - he was one of the first members of the partnership program. The social media universe has changed, however. "Now, even if I load something to YouTube, half my audience is watching it on Facebook, and leaving their comments there. A lot of people are watching on a mobile device, and can't leave a comment at all. We're not watching on the same page, in the same manner, and that's also kind of broken up the conversation."
With higher quality video, longer post limits, and the partnership program, the YouTube universe expanded, changed and evolved. Some people are here in search of celebrity, others to make money - but many are here for community. The small world that YouTube once was may no longer exist, but in it's place are countless "neighborhoods," of friends and co-creators forming bonds as strong as Ken's friends when the site was young.
To this day, Ken remains in close contact with the friends he made in the early days of YouTube (such as AndyMooseman, a previous interview). Some haven't created on YouTube in years, and some create on other sites. In 2010, Ken, Andy and their YouTube vlogging buddies met in Los Angeles for a week-long road trip up the California coast - not to create a vlogs (thought they did) - but to celebrate their friendship.