Last week, I had the privilege of attending Playlist LIVE in Orlando, Florida. Not only did I escape the cold, “spring” weather here in Ottawa, I also learned a lot about the influence that YouTube has on its users.
As far as social networks go, YouTube has always been an afterthought to me. It’s a site I visit when I need to find a funny clip from a movie, or to watch one of those oh-so-elusive viral videos. I understand how to use the site, and why people do, but it’s not a useful site for my goals. I don’t post videos on my own account, and I don’t subscribe to many channels or celebrities.
While setting up our booth for VideoStudio Pro, I was almost trampled by a stampede of people trying to get a good spot in the ShayCarl line-up. This is when I realized that this is much more than a video-sharing site. These fans don’t lose their minds over celebrities for no reason. Fans feel a connection to them, can relate to them and are often inspired by them.
I heard countless stories over the weekend from fans who started a YouTube channel because they were inspired by Jack and Finn or iJustine. These celebrities have changed lives, and gave many people hope that they too could develop a following on YouTube.
Many people at Playlist LIVE were there for a special reason: YouTube helped them find an identity. If they could not find their voice at school or work, they found it on YouTube. They developed confidence and learned how to feel comfortable with themselves. It gave a voice to those who could not be heard.
The show also brought people together. Connections that are made online rarely become face-to-face. However, Playlist LIVE changed that. It brought together those who have probably already met through YouTube. It was no surprise to see so many friendships formed within the first day, despite many people coming to the show alone. YouTube helped users make friends, and Playlist LIVE helped these friends meet in-person.
While many people think that social media is a fad, and that it has negatively changed our world, Playlist LIVE is a prime example of why this is not true. It highlighted the power of YouTube to give people a voice, to help them find their inspiration and to make long-lasting connections. Start a channel, find other users who interest you, and see what happens!
Who is your favorite YouTube celebrity? Is there anyone on YouTube who has inspired you? Leave a comment below and let us know!