Yesterday, Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter did a video on this, which you can see here. I have a couple of things to say, and thought I would put them in a blog post rather than write a long rambling comment on the video. I will still ramble though, just to forewarn you.
For starters, I completely agree with Louise in that we shouldn’t think of YouTubers as role models. I love watching Louise and think she’d be really lovely to sit down with a cuppa and have a chat with. BUT and it’s a big one YouTubers are just your average person, not a single one of them ever imagined that it would become their job, and it’s amazing that it is. However, as a viewer you get to see 10 minutes a week of them, and it’s scripted or planned so you’re not actually seeing into their life as much as you might think you are. Personally when I film, I pick a topic sit and ramble on for a good half an hour or so, and then I chop it down to make it more concise. You get to see the best bits which have been filmed, well generally, you don’t get to see the other 6 days, 23 hours, and 50 minutes of their week. You are getting a snippet which has been designed for your viewing, it’s the perfectly tidy set up, which probably didn’t look like that before the camera was turned on, it’s the makeup and hair done, especially for the video. I know that daily vlogs give you that extra insight into someone’s life, but that is still edited down into the best bits, I wouldn’t be showing you anything or at least not much which was filmed of me struggling with my anxiety where i’m debating whether I should cancel going to an event, it’s just not enjoyable to watch. It’s the same way in that you can’t really think of celebrities as your idols, yes you can aim to have the career they have, but you only know about them what is printed in magazines or on the internet, and a lot of that is twisted truths.
I do sit and watch vlogs about YouTuber events and meet ups, and personally they look terrifying due to the masses of people. I think it’s so unfair to those who buy tickets and queue up for hours just to get a minute or two with the YouTuber/s they want to meet. I know it’s not something the YouTubers can control but it fuels the celebrity culture which has been created. It must be so incredibly difficult when so many people do want to meet you, I’m sure it makes it impossible to arrange your own meet ups as you have no idea how many people are going to turn up and you want to ensure it is a safe environment for all. If I could think of a way around it then I’d be suggesting it here but I can’t, the only way would be to seriously limit the amount of tickets available, which probably wouldn’t meet the costs of running such an event. So much planning is required, and security is there to help keep it a safe environment for everyone to be in, even if sometimes security can look a little scary!
One of my friends was doing security at DigiFest on Sunday, so I’ve taken advantage of her and asked her thoughts on such an event from the point of view as a member of security. The first thing she said to me was that from what she saw it was young vulnerable girls getting screwed over. I obviously asked her to expand on that, because lets be honest it could be anything. She said people paid £110 for a VIP ticket to meet and greet the YouTubers, some of them queued for hours and missed most of the show only to be told that the meet and greet was over. Plenty of people were in hysterics because they couldn’t meet anyone. Now, obviously this is only one event, and I can’t comment on what went on at all as I wasn’t there, and this is only what one person made of it. I personally would be annoyed if I paid £110 for a VIP ticket so that I could meet my favourite YouTuber, you expect that it’s guaranteed you’ll meet them, I would probably be demanding a refund. It’s not something the YouTubers have control over and it’s the organisers of the event but they shouldn’t have sold so many VIP tickets if they couldn’t guarantee they’d be able to keep up with the demand.
I think this shows that the YouTube Celebrity Culture is getting out of hand, I think we need to pull it back to what it was and essentially still is, your average person making videos in their home. I know we can’t control how people react or how they chose to idolise people but it’s completely unfair on both sides. YouTubers can’t possibly keep up with the demand when so many people want to meet them, but it’s also completely unfair on those who do want to meet them because they get a few minutes with them a hug, a photo, and autograph if their lucky, how is that worth the money they’ve paid to meet their favourite YouTubers? Louise herself thinks it’s not fair to only get that small amount of interaction after waiting so long. In my ideal world to get to meet a YouTuber, you’d have a group of 3 YouTubers say Louise, Tanya, and Zoe in a room with tea and cake, you would let say 10 fans into the room, who would then get to spend half an hour with them, which allows time to actually chat and you’d get your moneys worth. Not as many fans would get the chance to meet YouTubers but it would become a much more casual affair, and more relaxed, of course you’d have to have security there in case there was some super crazy fan, but I think it would be more enjoyable for both fans and YouTubers. Tickets could then be sold with time slots, meaning people don’t need to queue for hours, and they’d be guaranteed to meet their favourite YouTubers assuming the YouTuber isn’t ill. Now I know it’s not going to happen, but something along those lines where you have x amount of time to spend and a few fans at once rather than rushing everyone through would be much more beneficial. I also think it could possibly help with stepping away from YouTube Celebrity Culture, it is not possible for Louise to tweet and say I’ll be doing a meet up because so many people would turn up but if it was possible to scale back meet and greets I think it would be so much better.
I also think it would be much more beneficial to do YouTube shows which are full of panels and talks separate to meet and greet events. People can then buy tickets to the panels they want to see knowing that they aren’t getting to meet the YouTubers they love but will get to see them, and possibly ask them a question. I guess you’ve got to lower peoples expectations of what they’re going to get by making it very simple.
My friend has just brought up something which I want to comment on, she said that some of the YouTubers would come out on stage just to then go backstage. I think this is completely unfair on those poor girls, if you come on stage it should be to do something not just to pop your head out and go back again. I know that YouTubers probably haven’t thought about it from the point of view of the fans, the fans will be getting really excited to see the face of a YouTuber they love, so they’ll scream and get a little hyper, but is it fair on them when a YouTuber isn’t coming on stage to do a panel or a talk of some sort?
My friend did make a comment that made me chuckle, she met some of the YouTubers on Sunday but didn’t have a clue who they were!
Anyway I’ve digressed a lot by talking about YouTube events and meet and greets, which wasn’t quite the point of this post.
What I think I’m trying to say is that YouTubers shouldn’t be seen as celebrities or role models, because they are your average person who just happens to have a really successful career out of something which once was a hobby. I also think that YouTube conventions, events, and meet and greets need to be scaled back and become very simple. I think it needs to be clear to fans exactly what they will get with their ticket, and that those organising meet and greets should not oversell on tickets for meet and greets. You might make less money, but people attending the event will be much happier and much more likely to come back again.
If you’ve understood what I’ve rambled on about, then please feel free to leave me a comment so we can engage in our thoughts.