Life Lessons from VidCon 2015

The sixth annual VidCon may have been bigger than previous years but the vibe remained true – youthful, electric and creative! The average age of both speakers and fans must have been below 21. And it’s all good. That’s what makes VidCon unlike any other conference I’ve attended. It is a true celebration of fans and their favorites. Where else can a tween meet his or her YouTube idols face to face? The event at the Anaheim Convention Center featured panels, keynotes, signings, parties, after-parties, concerts and interactive booths on the expo floor.

I left another wonderful year at Vidcon with some valuable takeaways. Shout out to my young friends Micaela and Charlize who helped me navigate the world of YouTube and for helping me experience VidCon with wonder and optimism.

LIFE LESSONS

Be Passionate. Isn’t this a lesson we should all strive to follow? When you think of the most successful YouTubers, they didn’t start out thinking of how many views they’d get or how many subscribes etc. They all started broadcasting about something they were passionate about.

Collaborate. I love the collaborations borne out of YouTube. When two YouTubers get together it is guaranteed fun, when more than two get together, it is MAGIC.

Here's a video featuring many YouTube stars that was created during the week of VidCon. It was shown during the Opening on the first day, hosted by Rhett and Link.

And then there was this moment, when over 2,000 people from the YouTube community created the Largest Cellphone Wave. Participants turned on their phone flashlights and briefly held them upwards in quick succession, creating a wave of light motion.


BEST PRACTICES

What best practice can we glean for future conferences and shows? A lounge for everyone or so it would seem. Some of the best things about VidCon are the interactive booths on the Expo Floor - from funky photo booths to dunk tanks and other games that both the young and young at heart can enjoy. This year it was all about the "lounges."

Consider the Parents, Chaperones and other people connected to your show attendee. VidCon provided a Parents' Lounge sponsored by Kia, which was a great idea because most of the attendees were minors.

Provide an area where people can interact, take a break, chill.

Like the PBS Chill Lounge which provided non-digital entertainment like cards and board games, in a conference that was all about digital. It was also cool to see creators and fans interact while charging their digital devices.

REVELATIONS

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23:  YouTubers Rhett James Maclaughlan (L) and Charles Lincoln 'Link' Neal of 'Rhett and Link' perform at #VidCon at Anaheim Convention Center on July 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23: YouTubers Rhett James Maclaughlan (L) and Charles Lincoln 'Link' Neal of 'Rhett and Link' perform at #VidCon at Anaheim Convention Center on July 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

As if you didn't know the future is all about video, and it's all happening in the mobile space.

Here are some statistics provided by YouTube:

•Growth in watch time on YouTube has accelerated and is now up over 60% year over year, the fastest growth rate we've seen in two years.

•The number of users coming to YouTube who start at the YouTube homepage, similar to the way they might turn on their TV, is up over three times year on year.

•The amount of content uploaded to YouTube has grown over the last year, too, with more than 400 hours uploaded every single minute.

•The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% year over year since March 2014

•The number of users coming to YouTube who start at the YouTube homepage, similar to the way they might turn on their TV, is up over three times year on year.

•More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. More than half of our watchtime comes from mobile devices.

•YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

Finally, some words of wisdom from Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube “I want to leave you all with one final message: YouTube succeeds only if you, our creators, succeed. You’re the reason that we’re all here today; you’re the reason that VidCon exists in the first place. All of you have invested in building your channels, building your businesses, listening viewer feedback, pored over your analytics and as a result, made great content and built strong communities.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23:  Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube delivers her keynote at #VidCon at Anaheim Convention Center on July 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube delivers her keynote at #VidCon at Anaheim Convention Center on July 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)