Category Archives: gathering

YouTube Messages

Youtube mandatory e-mails!

Recently I got a YouTube mandatory email. Something of such importance that it must sent to me regardless of any email preferences I may have set.

I have no problem with that. There are times where information must be passed on. Major network disruption, significant changes in terms and conditions, something that may have to be sent in order to comply with some legal requirement… I can live with that sort of thing.

So what was this important mandatory email about… it was about YouTube wanting me to watch their 10 most-buzzed videos of the year.

That’s right, they consider it to be so important that I see parody videos and how a baseball team helped break a pop song that they sent me a mandatory message.

I find this a sad reflection of how YouTube is now descending into mass commercialism with no real thought or consideration to their users, even though these users are the very people who clicks on the advert links and the like which is in turn how YouTube makes much of its money!

The other thing is that it degrades the importance users will put on mandatory email messages. If all they are going to do is forcibly e-mail me crap then I’ll just end up ignoring them.

Or maybe I have this all wrong. Maybe my life does depend on me watching a pop song video. Maybe.

Maybe I’ll spend a lot more time on Vimeo instead.

London and SitC

A trip to London and SitC 2011.

Went down to London for a week recently. Got down there at the tail end of that period of rioting. However all I saw was Londoners (and tourists) all just getting on with life. The reason for heading down from Glasgow; to attend the three days of Summer in the City YouTube Gathering (SitC) and also have a few days in London of just being a tourist.

SitC was good. I don’t know how many attended over the week-end, perhaps six or seven hundred. A bit of Hyde Park, a bit of Regent’s Park and a bit of Jubilee Gardens; and in the evenings some music sessions. Nice to see some familiar faces and nice to make some new contacts. For a few people this is the only time throughout the year that they get the chance of face to face meetings with their internet social contacts, especially when these people are located in different countries.

One area that seem to have become a surrogate home for many YouTubers is Camden. An interesting area of shops and markets, lots of food places and the canal going through the middle. Walking around there the day after SitC had ended and I was bumping into many I knew, all just winding down. Although not really my style of clothing, heading off into The Stables market area and a wander around CyberDog is always fun. A few years ago if someone had asked me if I’d like to live in London I’d probably have said ‘no’, however I’ve going down there to Gatherings over the last three years my attitude to the city has changed, and if I could afford a property there, then I would happily move there now.

Back to SitC – an amazingly friendly get together. Yes, with that number there there will be personality clashes and the like, on the other hand it is so large it’s easy enough to avoid those you may not wish to see. No barrier to gender or age, many there in their early teens, others there retired. Spread across Friday – Saturday – Sunday some just turned up for one day, but what did surprise me was the numbers there at the start on Friday lunchtime. Walking into Hyde Park and seeing in the distance this huge crowd of people was just amazing. I’d expected (and we got) large Saturday numbers, but to see so many there so early at the start was great.

This was the third SitC and at least this time YouTube bothered to send some representatives which was nice. Provisional dates for 2012 are for the 17th – 19th of August. I hope to go.

DevMeets and Gatherings

DevMeets and Gatherings and nice social events.

It must have been late autumn 2007 that I became curious about the ‘YouTube’ thing, signed up with an account in early 2008, then started uploading videos in the middle of that year. This led on to things like attending YouTube Gatherings and generally getting to know people within that community.
It was then through a comment made by a YouTuber on their channel that got me aware of DeviantArt, and so signed up and uploaded a few pictures I had taken that I rather liked. DeviantArt was very much a ‘minority interest’ thing to me; video, YouTube, and the social community based around that was where my main interest lay.

However December 2009 found me down in London for an evening YouTube session – Tom Milsom’s Painfully Mainstream gig, but I had heard that there was going to be a DevMeet that day too, so thought I’d go and have a look. Something to keep me occupied till Tom’s gig in the early evening.
(There are videos of both the DevMeet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NACMzrqv-U) and Tom’s gig (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQOSnXxpsCw) on my YouTube channel.)

Finding out about the DevMeet really was a chance thing, and I couldn’t stay long, but did enjoy myself there.
However this meeting did encourage me to look more to DeviantArt, so when I heard of various DevMeets happening in the summer of 2010 (DeviantArt’s 10th birthday), I thought I’d get to one. So on the 21st of August I found myself heading towards Marble Arch and *UncleWoodstock’s picnic meet. (http://www.youtube.com/user/StressedTechnician#p/u/0/g-q43SNZ_Ac)

In many ways the DevMeet crowd was a similar crowd to that of a YouTube Gathering; young dominated, above average intelligence, expressive group of people. However there was one interesting difference; this crowd uses DeviantArt to show and express themselves through their work, whether it be drawings, photographs or whatever. The YouTube crowd so often use their videos to show and express themselves, this is ‘me’ showing myself off for everyone else to see.
This difference in outlook, this is me through my work (but I shall remain hidden), and this is me, on video, most definitely not hidden, but both coming from a similar ‘expressive’ group of people I found quite interesting.

As for anyone reading this who has not yet been to any of these DevMeets and Gatherings – get to one. They’re great days out and a wonderful way of making friends and meeting some really nice, fun people.

Winter Gatherings

Tired.
We recently had a YouTube winter Gathering up here in Glasgow. About a dozen people attended so an okay sized crowd. However there was a bit of a personality clash between two of the people there which added a bit of unwanted tension to the day. Well, you can’t go through life liking every single person you ever meet, and you can’t expect every person you meet to like you too. What goes to make up your own character is how you handle these sorts of situations. If there’s someone there you don’t like do you let it get to you (and your negativity influence those around you) or do you have the strength to accept such situations and enjoy the fact that there are more people there that you do like than you don’t.
This was very quickly followed by a run down to Manchester and a Gathering there. I like Manchester. It does have the advantage of being centrally located and relatively easily accessible to the majority of the country’s population. A bit over a couple of hours on the train up from London. Close enough to Glasgow (and Edinburgh) to make day trips from these places practicable.
That was then followed the next week-end by a hop across to Dublin. Was quite surprised how expensive the ‘little things’ were across there. More expensive items were not really that hugely different, it was things like paying twice the price for a cup of coffee in Dublin than in Glasgow or Manchester that caught me out.
The week-end after that was Tom Milsom’s Painfully Mainstream album release event. Not a typical YouTube Gathering, but an evening music session in the upstairs room of a central London pub. However just about everybody there was YouTube connected, and had ‘gathered together’ in one place; you can make up your own mind if you want to call it a Gathering or not.
Before Tom’s evening session there was for me an interesting diversion in the shape of meeting a group of Deviant Art types who were holding a DevMeet, starting at lunchtime in Tate Modern. A really nice crowd.
Then this last week-end and the London Festive Gathering. At one stage a quick head-count counted 35 people. Assume a few were missed, so say a bit over 40, but the count was done after some had left, so we’re talking around 50 to 60 people there at one time or another. Note to Gathering organisers; If you are going to do a middle of winter Gathering, make sure you have the option of meeting in a location that has at least some level of cover and shelter. Standing for an hour or so exposed out in the freezing cold on grass that was rapidly turning into mud is foolish.
Then on the way back from that a very pleasant diversion via Manchester and meet a (YouTube) friend. Yet another example how internet contacts can become Real Life friends.
All great week-ends, one after another, but there comes a time when enough is enough and some alone-time is needed. Things can get tiring, often more mentally than physically. However it is coming up to Christmas which is not really an alone-time period.
A period that also does show how lonely it can be even when you are in large crowds of others.

Nerdfighter Gathering

Attended the Nerdfighter Gathering last week-end. (27th June.) Including this one, I’ve now been to 10 gatherings that have required long distance travel. Sat down and worked out an overall approximate cost – and nearly required a change of underwear!!! Travel costs plus accommodation plus general spending; it all came to a rather scarily large amount. All I can say is that it has been worth it.

However this last gathering I did find a little different, and I must confess, not really my style. The previous ones have been dominated not just by YouTube users, but by YouTube video ‘producers’ or makers. People who find (need?) the method of communicating and expressing themselves through things like YouTube to be important to them. A specific type of character who might not find directly talking to strangers and those they are not familiar with particularly comfortable. Far easier to initially talk to others from the safety of the camera (and so of remoteness and distance). Make your own video, in your own time, no one pressuring you, and if you don’t like what you’ve said, then re-record it. No one else will be any the wiser. Likewise people can respond in their own time, safely from a distance. So on any first eventual encounter, you are not total strangers.

On the other hand this gathering had a large number of purely ‘user types’ there. A different character of person. Many principally there to see Maureen Johnson, an American author of novels and short stories aimed at young adults. This certainly gave the gathering a different atmosphere. A large group which was not one of active two-way communication, but of ‘principle participant’ with a relatively passive audience, and a second group of more interactive people. Overall, as a middle-aged adult, I did not find things totally comfortable, and for a first time ever at a gathering, found myself with feelings of stress.

I guess the day generally was an okay day. Re-established contact with one or two familiar faces. Met one or two new ones. Ended up going to a Julia Nunes gig; but I’ve got to ask myself was it worth the cost of the train fare, the travel time involved, and then the cost of overnight accommodation for two nights in London. Ummm…. need to think on this. If it had not been for two, no, three people, then definitely NO. On the other hand can I really expect *every* gathering I ever go to to be brilliantly wonderful? To be muttering about only one out of ten is not bad going. Also it itself was not ‘bad’, just ‘okay but…’.

Anyway, another time, another place, and another gathering will happen. Already thinking on my next one.

Be There!

More on Gatherings and the social aspects of them.

I wonder if anyone actually reads these blogs?
A couple of week-ends ago and it was Glasgow down to Bury St. Edmunds for Tom’s musical Gathering. (Commented on that below.) This week-end just passed involved going down with a friend to London and the Thibils YouTube Gathering. A bit of a diversion occurred when on the train down (Friday afternoon) my phone rang and it was Tom Milsom wanting to know if I wanted to go to the MCM (movie comic media) Expo at the Excel centre. This was happening on Saturday morning, so go to this first then move on to the Gathering in the afternoon. Sounded good to me. If I’m going to spend the time and money travelling half way across the country, I might as well get my money’s worth of events.
So myself (and Brian) met up with Tom and Jacob on Saturday morning and headed off to the East End. Ummm…. Docklands Light Railway!!! Ummm….. Services not running, little information, unhelpful staff, a replacement bus service that involved waiting 45 minutes for a bus… what a load of crap! If London thinks it’s going to make a success of the Olympics an a few years time, it had better get it’s finger out of its arse and get things sorted.
The comic expo was great fun, so glad Tom alerted me to it. Then on to the Gathering. No apologies for saying what I have said before – Gatherings are great places for meeting people and forming friendships. No need to worry about never having been to one before, you very quickly muddle in with the rest of the crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and met quite a few people who up till then I had only ever electronically talked to. It’s really nice to be able to put an actual 3-D face to these relatively remote contacts.
There’s also a slightly more serious side to it. I’m not your stereo-typical young, cute looking, probably musically talented, school / student type YouTuber, but middle-aged adult doing a 9 till 5 job who should have better things to do than to spend time on YouTube and watching BlogTV. But I don’t, so I do spend time watching videos, and occasionally uploading them myself, and I do spend time chatting to some of these ‘stereo-typical young, cute looking, probably musically talented, school / student type’ users. One thing that has amazed me is the way above average level of intelligence most of these people have. I have learnt more off them over the last year of being around YouTube than in any number of ‘real-life’ years being around (dull boring, though still intelligent) adults!
So it’s important to me that these people who I talk to or message can see and meet me, and see exactly who or what I am. They can talk to me, or talk to others who in turn know me, and can then make up their own minds.
Thinking of YouTube, or even Skype, this whole system of easy (not just across national border, but across continents) group social communication thing could have huge repercussions in about ten years time. This is when the current late teenage or those in their early 20s users, who are used to this sort of border-free and cross-cultural system, come into jobs and positions of influence and importance. Their ideas of both social and national boundaries will be very different to that of their parents. Will be interesting to see how things develop.
Anyway, roll on the next Gathering.
See you there 🙂

Manchester Gathering & stuff

Manchester’s mini-Gathering went well. Went down Friday evening, so had the Friday and Saturday nights there. Stayed in a rather crap hotel. One of those places where you don’t leave any sort of valuable in the room, but take them with you. Mind you, I’ve stayed in worse.
The Gathering itself was great. Usual story of nice to see a few familiar faces and nice to see some new ones. A couple of people there new to Gatherings, and they seemed to have a good time too. Bought a couple of (for me) rather odd trousers there. Black, baggy, with various metal and other attachments on them.
Not too sure when the next Gathering is. One thing I’ve found nice with them, and that is that they give you something to look forward to in that medium time-scale of a month or two.
Next week Mhazz (omgMhazzrocks) will be doing a gig in a local Beanscene coffee shop, which I’ll try and get to. Wonder if I could try to do a BlogTV from there using my mobile phone as a modem for my lap-top. Have done it before, but it does need a very good signal to get a suitable upload speed.
Some of the students I work with are starting to find themselves a bit ‘busy’! Usual story of leaving things too late. They are all turning up wanting help with project stuff which they really should have started some weeks ago, but…
Despite recession and things, most are getting good jobs. Thank goodness they are engineers rather than administrator-types, who appear to be the main victims of this troubled times.
Really need to get some better (more user-friendly) video editing software. Use Corel VideoStudio12, which is OK, but no more than OK. We’ll see.

February Gatherings, & BT problems.

I got a strange message from my internet providers recently… ‘we’re sorry you are shortly leaving us…’ What the Fu*k! Contacted them and they say that it’s because my phone line has been de-activated. Try to use land line and find I can’t dial out (or call in). Get on to BT who say that they disconnected it (strange that the broadband was still working!) because I had requested it as the property was vacant.
Total lies from BT.
They have got me re-activated, though with a different phone number. However at the moment I’m having to use my mobile phone as an internet modem while my internet providers sort out their de-activation and re-activation process.
A general pain-in-the-bum!
Why BT lied to me when they said that *I* had requested the de-activation I don’t know. But then that’s BT for you.

Early in February there was the Milton Keynes Gathering. Some really bad weather around then put a lot of people off going. However I got down from Glasgow, and another lad got across from Northern Ireland.
I was due to fly down from Glasgow to Luton the afternoon before (Friday). However Friday morning Luton airport was closed because of the snow. The announcement on their web site said they should be opening at 12:00 mid-day. But that changed to still closed, opening at 1 pm, then opening at 2 pm , then 3 pm… eventually opened around 4 pm.
My flight, due to leave Glasgow at 4:15, left a bit after 5, which considering the conditions was not too bad. Got to Luton, the direct coach connection to Milton Keynes was not running, so had to do a rather strange train journey jumping around a bit, which included travel in a taxi as one link in the rail journey was not operating. Got to Milton Keynes O.K., and not that much later than originally planned for.
The Gathering was brilliant, about a dozen there. The usual things of socialising, food, laserquest type stuff. The weather stabilised, such that my journey back to Glasgow on the Sunday was (pleasantly) uneventful.

In January, a session on a Charlie BlogTV show had also talked about an early February Gathering down in Bath. So I quickly booked some easyJet flight tickets down – the later you leave it with easyJet, the more expensive it becomes! However, later this date got changed to the latter part of Feb, then everything then went very quiet about it. So quiet I assumed it was not actually happening but still thought I’d go down as a nice break away from here.
I then heard about a mini-Gathering in Manchester the week after Bath, so (assuming Bath not happening) arranged for that Gathering instead – but as things were already arranged for Bath, still go there for the break. Then just before heading down to Bath, a rather pleasant e-mail from Charlie’s mum (on the Thursday) telling me that the Bath Gathering (Bathering) is going to be happening on the Saturday after all. Wow. A really great time down there. Good to meet Charlie and Tom again, plus other familiar faces. Good to meet some new people too.

This leaves me now with Manchester in a few days time. Three Gatherings in one month is a little bit scary!

January exams, and a Sheffield Gathering

New Year’s come and gone, some good BlogTV stuff over that period. And now it’s the middle of exam time at Uni. Whoever had the ‘bright idea’ of having exams at the start of January should have their bollocks crushed between two bricks! Why not start the Uni term / semester a couple of weeks earlier and then hold the exams before Christmas, even if they are not marked till January?
Of course, with the students concentrating on exam stuff they’re not bothering me with prokect work. This does mean I have no excuse now for not getting on with all those tasks that I hate doing but have managed to delay and delay. Oh Shit, never mind.
Another Gathering attended in January, down in Sheffield. Well attended with a few well known YouTubers, which was nice. A bit too cold and wet, but then it is the middle of winter, so what in the fu*k do you expect!!! However I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Sheffield may be very nice as an open-planned city centre, but it does mean that there are very few covered places that a large crowd can go to and not be in the way, or upsetting security staff. Not a problem being stuck outside when it’s warm, but not when it’s cold, wet and rather windy. But still had a good time 🙂

Pre-Christmas, Birmingham Gathering

It’s Christmas time. The run-up was surprisingly pleasant. The swarm of students all wanting help suddenly dried up as report deadlines approached. They all diverted off to getting these written up and printed out in time for the end of the semester. No doubt they’ll make up for the lack of project work later, but that won’t be till next year – so I’ll enjoy the peace while I can.
That ‘strange urge’ to go down to Birmingham for a pre-Christmas YouTube Gathering got stronger and stronger until… Went down on the Sunday, Monday Gathering, and back up Tuesday. Each Gathering I’ve been to has had its own character and style, and each one has been great, and this was no exception. Thirty people there??? not sure on the exact numbers, but a good crowd, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Thank you Eddplant for organising it.
Got to play with my new video camera there (early Christmas present) and the videos seem to have come out O.K. Got them up on YouTube by Wednesday.
This time next week and it will be the New Year!