“What’s this? A shiny new URL?” asked nobody because no one has ever noticed that I’d been posting to a site with the awful Pettie.us URL instead of a regular dot-com. Well, I failed to keep my WordPress installation up-to-date, and my site got compromised, sending visitors to some Turkish phishing site, giving me a reason to finally move things over to this dot-com that I’ve owned for a while and just never used. So with this new domain, I continue my masochistic quest to own my own posts rather than have Twitter or Facebook own all my thoughts and content. Onwards to the blog!
I’m at Vidcon, my annual trek to sunny Anaheim to immerse myself in a community of people dedicated to the world of online video. Tens of thousands of fans, creators, and industry professionals converge on the Anaheim Convention Center to talk to each other about this thing that for which we dare not share our full enthusiasm with the other people in our lives for fear of causing their eyes to glaze over and their brains to temporarily shut down.
I delivered a presentation for advertisers on behalf of YouTube, which was a real treat. I mentioned in a blog post over a year ago that I had undertaken learning public speaking as a personal and professional development goal. This year, I’ve given several talks and was gratified that the B2B team at YouTube wanted me to talk about trends for their audience at Vidcon. I feel like I’ve already come a long way while definitely still having much to learn about making presentations creative and fun.
The highlight of the day, for me, was going to a panel featuring a lot of my favorite science education creators. It was one of those panels that ended up being far more intriguing and thoughtful than I think anyone, even the participants, could’ve imagined. Somehow, they very quickly began to grapple with the question of accuracy in edutainment, and their views on how accurate they needed to be ran the gamut. Is the goal of a science video to be an educational resource with these creators’ channels being akin to a science textbook, or is the goal of the video to inspire interest in science and learning? This obviously isn’t a new question – it’s one people who make edutainment for TV and documentaries have dealt with for years. It’s the context that’s different – with the internet allowing this content to act as a source and fact-checking to be near-instantaneous. I loved hearing these creators grapple with the question without ever really reaching a conclusive opinion.
Another highlight was getting to have a mini YouTube Nation reunion with my pals Stephen, Cyrus, and Steve. Whenever I think about the team we had assembled there, my mind boggles. If Vidcon existed for no reason other than to allow me to get to see the YTN crew, that would be fine with me.
My favorite sight from day one of Vidcon was the very last thing I saw before heading back to my hotel. Mind you, I saw a lot of great things, including the visual of Hank Green dancing to Shoop by Salt N Pepa at the YouTube Partners Reception. You know that “My Uber is here” meme where people take pictures of either ridiculous or awesome cars? Last night, the last Uber I saw before getting in my Lyft was this ridiculously awesome automotive treat.
You, sir, get a five-star rating just for doing you. I hope on the way to wherever they were headed, their driver, Ja Rule, was like “I gotta make one stop,” and then they pulled into an abandoned car lot filled with cars, neon lights, generic techno music, and discarded Nos canisters. Ja ran one race, lost the rest of his street cred (again), and took the family back to their hotel.