Plugged In: American Hipster

Reclaiming your hipster.

This month five Seattleites share a piece of their passion in a YouTube series that features the young and hip. From beer and bars to wax bodies and furniture made of garbage – the different personalities and entrepreneurial endeavors are what make these individuals today’s American Hipster.

In Seattle, Rachel Marshall is making ginger beer; Steph Kesey and Erin Pollock create wax human bodies just to melt them; and Chris Porter and Kayte Olsufka are in charge of putting on the summer’s biggest music festival in Seattle. Last week’s episode featured Michael Marian for building furniture and interior spaces from reclaimed and salvaged wood, steel, and machinery. Next week, Linda Derschang will be featured for being known as Seattle’s “queen of clubs” for the venues that she operates on Capitol Hill.

The American Hipster YouTube Channel, showcases short snippets into the lives of young America’s creative individuals. The series aims to showcase the interesting qualities of a creative generation and show that the word “hipster” is nothing more than a derogatory catchall term. The truth is, the generation of young folks living in urban areas are creative innovators and likely entrepreneurs.

These individuals may not have thought of themselves as hipsters before but the series has showed that the word simply means young and urban at this point, focusing on an aspects of American culture that aren’t yet or just becoming mainstream.

Seattle is just one of the 10 featured cities that American Hipster presents in their weekly documentary series profiling trendsetters from around the United States.

“What we hope with the show is that people will see elements of our culture that they used to associate with the term hipster and realize that there are creative, passionate individuals behind those trends,” says Peter Furia, one of the show’s producers and co-founder of Seedwell, the company that created the series.

Along with fellow Seattle natives, David Fine and Beau Lewis, Furia looked at the viral success of one of their early videos created in 2007, “Mac or PC” Rap Music Video to pursue the idea of making a business out of viral videos. They moved to San Francisco with no real business plan but to keep making videos and have since attracted clients and investors.

The American Hipster is an official YouTube Channel and was one of the first 100 channels that were funded by the new YouTube initiative. It’s also a part of a bigger strategy by Google, (YouTube’s parent company), to become an entertainment alternative to cable and network television.

“Above all else [new media] is about on-demand programming and interactivity,” says Furia, “As a viewer, I can easily watch a video on YouTube, and with a click of one button I can share it with my friends on Facebook or Twitter and I can give the producers feedback by commenting. At its core, the new media movement is about on demand and being social.”

Like the demographic that American Hipster showcases, today’s viewers are no longer willing to pay attention to commercials that surround the content that they are watching. What that means is that if advertisers want to reach audiences effectively, they’ll have to think of other ways to do it.

“If there’s a story to be told – and if you’re a good storyteller – now more than ever, you have easy access to the tools to tell the story,” says Furia.

With the American Hipster stories, what the team saw was that a lot of the trends that were popping up in America were being created by interesting people – people who were reclaiming and owning their hipster.