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Dreams of movie stardom? Nah. More teens today long to be influencers

ANAHEIM, Calif. — In a crowded ballroom on the top floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, teens and young adults with colorful hair and cameras in their hands mingled on Friday.

The group had gathered as part of a networking group of up-and-coming creators hoping to grow their YouTube channels or online presence at the 10th annual VidCon, a YouTube-focused convention for the platform’s stars, fans and those learning the tricks of the trade.

Among those networking at VidCon, more than a dozen teens and young adults told NBC News that their generation is more interested in creating their own platforms and generating their own fame rather than working toward a typical 9-to-5 job or attempting to become traditional media stars.

Chinenye Agina, 18, a vlogger from California who focuses on fitness, said she grew up with YouTube and that her generation doesn’t want to become actors or movie stars — they want to be influencers.

“Some people are saying, ‘Why would I go to college when I could become an influencer and get all this free stuff?'” Agina said.

Agina mingled at the networking event with Macy Sengsavang, 19, who said she’s interested in making films but is currently vlogging on YouTube while simultaneously trying to grow her Instagram presence.

“Our generation is more interested in social media and getting famous off there. I see kids wanting to be YouTubers,” Sengsavang said. “You ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, and they say, ‘I want to be a YouTuber.’ Our generation is definitely different.”

While some seek new types of fame, other teens said they were using social media as a way to break into more traditional careers.

Ashley Stringer, 17, a singer-songwriter from Houston, Texas, said she’s been on YouTube as long as she can remember and was attending VidCon for the first time.

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