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VidCon emerges for the first time since the pandemic shutdown

ANAHEIM, Calif. — From YouTubers like MrBeast and GamingMermaid to TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio and Khaby Lame, online video creators of all stripes are flocking to Anaheim, Calif., June 22-25 for VidCon.

VidCon was started in 2010 by Hank and John Green (known as the “Vlog Brothers” on YouTube). It’s a four-day, in-person event where influencers can meet fans, as well as network with potential business partners and corporate sponsors.

“It’s sort of a mix of, I guess, a cool gig where you can potentially see your favorite celebrities and also a place where a lot of business is happening behind the scenes,” says Chris Stokel-Walker, author of ” YouTubers: How YouTube Rocked TV and Created a New Generation of Stars.”

Attendees play video games at the Ax booth at VidCon in Anaheim, California on July 11, 2019.

The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE

Attendees can play games alongside creators, shop for merchandise, catch a Rebecca Black or SZA concert, or watch panel discussions examining the best ways to monetize a video, how the YouTube algorithm works, and what the metaverse could mean for games.

Creators such as MrBeast (97.3 million YouTube subscribers), Jelly (22.7 million YouTube subscribers), Charli D’Amelio (142.1 million TikTok subscribers) and Kallmekris (44.5 million ‘TikTok followers) are all scheduled, along with representatives from companies like Amazon, Pinterest, Spotify and Epic Games.

It has also spawned other VidCon events around the world, including iterations in London, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“It’s really a global event that kind of captures the idea of ​​the international nature of online creation,” says Stokel-Walker.

He adds that VidCon can also be a place to follow the ups and downs of the often tumultuous world of online video creators.

“Fandom and success online is incredibly fickle, and you can actually trace people’s success and failure based on where they are in the VidCon lineup,” he says. “You can see people who are maybe extremely popular one year find this, five years later they’re being ignored as they walk down the halls.”

VidCon has steadily increased attendance over its decade-plus history, surpassing 75,000 attendees in 2019, up from just 1,400 at the first convention in 2010. Stokel-Walker notes that popularity is key to understand how influential online creators can be.

VidCon emerges for the first time since the pandemic shutdown

John Green and Hank Green, known as the “Vlogbrothers”, speak at VidCon at the Convention Center in Anaheim, California on July 23, 2015.

FilmMagic/Getty Images, FILR

“It’s very easy to think that these people with millions, tens of millions of fans are almost not real, and their fandom and success is almost not real,” he says. “But when you see him in person, when you hear the roar of the audience, as he sees his favorite creators appear on stage, you suddenly realize how powerful these platforms are.”

The event marks the first VidCon in Anaheim in nearly three years, after organizers canceled events in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. And there’s a major change this year: TikTok is the main sponsor of the show, taking over from YouTube.

“I think it shows the shifting sands of power between the two platforms,” ​​Stokel-Walker says. “What I find fascinating about this is that it kind of shows who’s on the rise. It shows what the name of the marquee is literally in this case. And it turns out that nowadays , it’s TikTok.”

ABC News

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