By Melissa Yunk
Connor Wade is a senior at the University of Kansas from Burlington, Kansas. In early 2016 he started broadcasting on a social website called YouNow. A live broadcasting site. A few months later, after going live regularly and building followers, the site contracted him and the followers kept rolling in. Now, almost a year later, @itsconnorwade has collected over 1.7 million views and over 2,500 subscribers. He is considered a “content creator” for the site. This new-found fame hadn’t hit Connor until he had the opportunity to meet his fans for the first time at Good Times Chicago, the “largest creator convention in Winter.”
I get the call to go to Chicago for the “Good Times Conference” at the beginning of winter break and am shocked. I honestly have no idea why they want me on one of their panels. I know I’m not all that popular.
The other 30 to 40 content creators attending are much more established than I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored, but terrified at the same time. I realize it is a good opportunity to get my name out there and put my fears aside and decide to attend.
A few weeks later, the plane lands in Chicago on the Friday night before my panel, which is at 11 a.m. the next day. They even have a whole floor reserved in the hotel just for us….it’s wild. I can barely focus on having a good time though because I can’t stop thinking of the disaster tomorrow could be.
I set about nine alarms for the next morning, starting with 5:30 a.m., to make sure I don’t oversleep, thinking I would actually be able to get any sleep at all.
That next morning, they line the 10 of us in that panel up and explain that we are going to answer a few questions and then stand while the fans can walk through and meet us.
As I am standing between two YouTubers with more than 10x the number of followers I have, the worst thoughts run through my head. No one is going to be here for me. What am I even doing here?
By this point I am physically shaking and sweat is dripping off my hands. The security guard opens the door a million screams flood through…my heart sinks.
“Oh shit,” I exclaim. My friend looks over and assures me it was all going to be okay.
From that point on it all turns into a blur. Hundreds of people are screaming our names, even mine!
As the audience starts walking through to meet us, I realize that there are people here that actually know me, and care about me. I have real fans! Some of them even bring me my favorite candy and gift cards.
Hell, one girl drove eight hours from Canada…just to meet me!
Being able to put faces to my followers gives what I have been doing a whole new meaning. They showed me that they care about me and motivate me to keep working at this and expanding my fan base. They give me hope.