Vidcon is the 777 for 2010. I'm not going. I'm friends with a few people who are but I really have no desire to go.
I've been thinking about why I have so little wish to go. It feels the same as how I have no desire at all to go to a school or university reunion. I feel like everyone graduated the youtube highschool and I'm still there being a cleaner or something. The people who I feel are/were my genuine friends whom I met via youtube have 90% moved on to other things and barely communicate online anymore. I feel like those friends would happily hang out if we were ever in the same landmass, but as for day to day e-hanging, it's gone.
And that's fine. They moved out of town when they graduated YT High. I'm still in this crappy town.
I've been to 3 of the main youtube meetups- 'As One' (remember that?) in San Francisco in 2007, 777 in New York the same year and 888 in Toronto in 2008. The first one was a revelation- these people who I had never talked to face to face were exactly as they were on screen, and so was I- it was like we already knew each other. It was amazing to talk to people who knew exactly what I was talking about and had the same shared experiences as me, at a time when other people still weren't sure what Youtube even was.
777 is probably my favourite memory connected with youtube. I stayed in an amazing Manhattan apartment sublet from some hipster fashion student, with Calli (TheSlyestFox), Mark (DentonUSA) and Paul (PabloKickasso417). It was Summer, we went up to the roof, we drank beer, we talked a bunch, we hung out and had fun. Then we went to the 'gathering' in Washington Square Park, and for one bizzarro day, I was a celebrity. People filmed me chatting to other people who were also filming me. People had me sign things. People were all shy and humble to talk to me. Photos were taken. I met people I'd not met before. It was awesome. It was sunny! It was overwhelming. It was stressful yet amazing. And very very strange. This all was at a time when I happily made new friends via the internet. Something that I've found harder and harder to do since 777.
888 Happened. Calli, and other awesome people I'd long hoped to meet (Frezned, for one) came, and I had a good time with them in the apartment we rented, but the love was gone for me. I didn't really watch videos anymore, aside from a rare few here and there. I didn't so much care about making videos anymore. I was in the middle of filming the incredibly stressful 'Bryony Makes A Zombie Movie'. Mark and Paul weren't there this time, their interest in youtube had waned as had mine. I was there mostly to hang out with my friends, and I had a nice time, but compared to the happy memories I had from New York, Toronto was boring, depressing and lonely. The actual gathering was cold and depressing (to me atleast). It rained, as if the weather had grown as bored of youtube as I had. The one moment that sums up the experience for me was when Cory (who the fuck was Cory, btw?) who'd organised the whole thing, had all the 'big names' up 'on stage' (around a microphone that was on the same floor we were all standing on). I wasn't called upon to go, I was all 'LOL WHATEVERZ!' but it rather summed up how my e-star had waned, atleast in the face of the uber stars like SXEphil and whoever else was there (honestly I can't remember who was there).
So in one year, one month and one day, youtube had gone from happiest day on earth to 'fuck this lets just go home in the rain'. I am overstating the case, 888 was a part of a month long trip that was fraught with stress and upsets of many kinds. My brother and I stayed in Montreal a very long 7 days, with nothing to do and nowhere to go (people say Montreal is great but honestly, outside of rural France, I have never been so bored and fed up with rude French people.) The rest of the trip had amazing moments and I don't want to disparage what was a fun (and expensive) time, but the Canadian part was disappointing for me, after 777's wonderment.
During this time between gatherings, I lost contact with Kim, who had up til then been my very best friend on the internet ever. Mark and Paul had less and less youtube interaction, and I talked to them less and less. I made videos with less frequency and with less interest in the response they garnered, and generally, we all went our separate ways. To conclude this overlong analogy, I think 777 was the graduation of youtube school, after which everyone went off to college (aka real life) and I stuck around like the loser older kid with nothing better to do.
And after Bryony Makes a Zombie Movie was nominated for a BAFTA, I thought I fucking had it made. I thought 'hey, I am a BAFTA NOMINEE (though in reality, the nomination was for the production team behind the project rather than me) the offers are gonna come ROLLING IN'. The offers did not come rolling in, and I spent most of 2009 living off of the £150-£400 youtube adsense money I got each month (more in months I made topical comedy skits that got lots of views), and the random sponsorship fees I got from companies to promote things on my channel.
That's amazing. Even though I basically didn't care about it anymore, I lived off of youtube for over a year. Sure, I have no savings for that entire year, and I didn't really advance myself in any useful way, but I had a lot of fun times doing whatever shit I felt like, and wearing pyjamas for 70% of the time. I'm the real version of one of those banner ads 'MAKE MONEY OFF OF THE INTERNET WORK FROM HOME ONE MILLIONTH VISITOR!!' I should write a book.
So what was I even writing this for? I guess just pondering over my reasons for feeling rather queasy at the idea of going to VidCon. Analysing what it is exactly that makes me feel so revolted at the thought of it. If I were to go, there would be a handful of people I actually know or am interested in, and a handful of people who might be interested in meeting me. It makes me feel ill the same way I used to feel when I was supposed to go out and meet my friends. Social Anxiety. Not being good enough for whatever imaginary reason I had. 777 was the first (and I think only) time I've ever really felt like a bigshot special person. 888 I felt like a has been. VidCon would just be like those ex minor soap stars that somehow turn up at fancy hollywood events, botoxed and old looking. Clinging on to whatever it was that they were once known for.
I don't want to feel like a washed up nobody, so I am not going to go.
Before anyone gives me shit in the comments, I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have had because of youtube. I do still enjoy making videos, and seeing their reactions, and in some ways I now enjoy youtube a lot more than I did (atleast during 2008). I am incredibly lucky to have been afforded these amazing opportunities, and I am extremely thankful for them. Please do not comment to say something along the lines of 'how dare you be so ungrateful', because I am incredibly so. To have had (and to still have) the amazing friends I have made because of this crazy youtube train is very rare indeed. I am thankful to every person who has had even the slightest interaction with me online (good or bad). It has all added up to an unusual and amazing few years of my life. Thankyou.