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Stampede Of Teens: What YouTube's Convention Taught Me About Its Culture Of Superfans - ReadWrite

Stampede Of Teens What YouTube s Convention Taught Me About Its Culture Of Superfans ReadWrite

Here’s the fundamental difference between Beatlesmania and VidConmania: Like YouTube itself, fame on the site is two-way and participatory. Unlike the gated-off crowds of A Hard Day’s Night, fans are playing paparazzi with the YouTube celebrities, and putting themselves in the picture. They're not just trailing behind their favorite creators, desperate for a glimpse. They're running in front of them, face to their own cameras, framing themselves in the center of a selfie. The YouTube stars are just there to photobomb.


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Rethinking YouTubeIf you think of YouTube as a place for music videos and funny animal hijinks, VidCon will forever change your views. The annual convention, first held in 2010, is the beating heart of YouTube—a niche community so passionate and alive, but so committed to the nuances of visual storytelling that it struggles to explain itself through bare text.

To plunge into the chaos and charm of VidCon, to embrace YouTube’s community in the crowded, sweaty flesh, to surround yourself with 18,000 community members in one gargantuan yet impossibly packed convention center, may be the only way to understand it. Like YouTube itself, the experience at its best is visual and visceral.

If you've seen historic footage of the Beatles’ 1965 tour in America, it's like that—but add smartphones, selfies, and social media. I watch as fans of YouTube personality catrific, known for comedic vlogs about her life, snap selfies in unending rotations with the star.

That Beatles 1965 tour is astounding:

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