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The Creepy Side of YouTube Meetups

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Saturday was a strange day. While the rest of the world was celebrating the global canonization of Al Gore, a flock of handycam-wielding YouTubers descended on Washington Square Park and busily navel-gazed their way into a me! me! me! orgy of giddy solipsism. At the park’s northern entrance the vid jockeys video’d each other, circling each other with cameras pointed like some retarded McLuhan version of a Reservoir Dogs standoff.

“I’m video-ing you! Now I’m video-ing you! You’re video-ing me? I’m video-ing you!” That’s a direct quote. Meanwhile police cameras whirred and clicked their own recordings, while a few members of the media interviewed the starry-eyed kids. A producer from HBO’s Runaway Box beckoned HappySlip, the YouTuber whose advert for the meetup garnered 2.7 million views, over for an interview.

One of the questions I’ve been asking everybody, the producer said, is that of all the YouTubers, who would you have sex with?

Only the most pressing questions here, folks. HappySlip collapsed in giggles and demurred. She is, after all, married. Sorry boys.

And let’s talk about that for a second. Perhaps the creepiest aspect of the meetup was the meeting of both young women — theHill88, Brookers, more — and older, graying, maladriot men. There’s something inherently off-putting about said men asking girls dressed in superhero costumes (hi, theHill88) for an autograph.

You can accuse me of being cynical, or of not understanding the friendship dynamics at play, or of fanning fears of the “to catch a predator” sort. But I’m just relating what I saw. And it only got weirder at the after-party at a club called The Grand in Midtown, where men with videocameras circled the dance floor, nightvision on. And did I mention the blow-up sex doll at the front steps. WTF.
Creepy guys, creepy park, creepy dance club. YouTube may be a fascinating world online, but offline it skeeves me out.

6 Responses to “The Creepy Side of YouTube Meetups”

  1. I was more skeeved out by the blatant marketing (me!, me! me!) and lack of anything to say. YouTube could be such a great forum to show videos of substance that are too hot for mainstream TV, but it has turned into just another forum for vacuous nonsense and advertising. As Nalts said so well “Some people do short films, I whore.” Watch the video and read my rant here:

  2. I saw the videos on-line as well and thought the same thing, very creepy. The Internet has it’s positive and negative sides and to me, this is the negative side. People think just because they talk to someone online or view a video of them online that they “know” the person and should meet them. Creepy all around.