Since Natalie Tran, the Australian YouTuber responsible for the Community Channel, started uploading videos to the platform in 2006, a lot has changed in the universe of online video. Tran caught up with Rhett & Link at this year’s VidCon, where they got to talking about these changes for the latest episode of “Ear Biscuits.”
The first “mind-blowing” aspect of VidCon for Tran came in the form of sheer mass. She likened “crowds running towards people to ‘World War Z,’” figuring there must be some very attractive 20-year-old guy on the other side. “It’s pretty money,” Tran described of the convention, further calling the presence of security escorting YouTube stars the mark of a “shift in culture” surrounding the online video community.
When Tran started out on YouTube, that community was a lot smaller. During her lunch breaks at work, she would head to the nearest internet café to chat online with the likes of Phil DeFranco and other creators based in America to catch up. Now, numerous fans at VidCon get turned away from their favorite YouTube personalities because there isn’t enough time and space to accommodate them all.
As it turns out, Tran’s impressions at VidCon don’t just come from a change in culture — they come from inhabiting a different one. In Australia, the idea of celebrity and YouTube take on a very different form. As Tran explained, “In Australia, there are arguments about whether we should have faster internet or not.” Thus, it’s no surprise that fans there are very relaxed when they say hello to her on the street.
Tran also noted the generational break between now and the platform’s earliest creators. These days, creators on YouTube have access to ideas and technology that seriously lessen the learning curve from back in the early days of the site, she said. “It’s a generational thing — everything will happen faster in the next generation,” she said, adding that YouTubers “are so good at what they do now” in areas that took Tran “so long to figure out.”
For more on Tran’s unique perspective on the ever-evolving video platform that is YouTube, listen to her talk with Rhett & Link in this week’s “Ear Biscuits.”