Vidcon wasn't perfect. This is, after all, a young industry - still testing its influence and developing pathways to success. YouTube (and its smaller cousins) are both artistic and entrepreneurial playgrounds.
Just as important is the sense of community - something that's completely missed by most casual visitors to YouTube. Friendships and collaborations are the heart and soul of this world. I'm still somewhat fascinated with the reality that so many have no idea of this world. Even new YouTubers express surprise at the extent of "Community."
Vidcon is both a community and professional development event, but was a bit surprising in the obvious lack of interest from vendors of professional video equipment - camera, lighting, softeware vendors, and more whose presence would have both benefited YouTubers wanting to "up their game" and the vendors themselves. The reasons why these vendors are missing may be twofold - they don't know the huge potential of serving this audience, and/or the community (and perhaps the Vidcon sales people) need to do a better job of outreach to these vendors. I'd like to see a "tech alley" in the vendor area, providing a one-stop-shop where YouTubers can learn, enhance and improve the technical quality of their videos.
In summary, my top ten observations about Vidcon:
- The growth of online video is dramatic; attendance at the 2010 Vidcon was 1400, attendance at this year's Vidcon is estimated at 7,200 - this year, keynotes were held in an arena
- This is still very much a YouTube world - source of over 50% of all online video viewed
- Optimism and excitement is palpable
- Like any entertainment industry, dreams and expectations are huge
- There's a great deal of imitation and hero worship amongst many YouTubers
- The most successful YouTubers are Entreprenuers - not only creating product, but promoting, collaborating, strategizing and finding branding partnerships.
- This is not a geographically centered industry; YouTubers of all levels come from all corners Of the world
- There is still a struggle to define just what "this" is; online video is a tool of communication as well as entertainment - sometimes, simultaneously
- The vending area, with just a few exception, shows how little the "professional" production industry (I.e. rental and sales video equipment companies) value this world - no camera vendor, for example, was in attendance.
- This will rival comic-con within a few years - with one important exception. This is primarily a gathering of creators, other than simple fans ( though there are plent of those as well
Check out my Vlog on this subject: