A Thousand Words: Summer in the City 2017

At long last, I’ve finally attended a SitC (or Summer in the City) in full. 2015 saw me volunteer for a charity on the Creator Day, and I was only able to attend the Sunday last year. Now, I’ve been there for all three days and it’s been a blast from start to finish.

The first photo in this series which wasn’t taken by me. Thanks Teddy Ebbesen for the snap!

I should start by saying just how wonderful the YouTube community is when it’s squeezed into the ExCel in London, or indeed, when you spot a fellow viewer on a train. There’s no ice to break at this conference, and I’ve made so many friends because of that. Thank you to you all.

The other great thing is the amount of creators I was able to meet and panels I was able to attend. This was also my first year entering the Meet and Greet ballot, and because of that I was able to meet PetesJams, Emma Blackery and JaackMaate.

I met other creators outside of these M&Gs too, of course, who were just as nice. As for the panels, discussions on issues such  as disability and producing a sketch made me want to pick up the camera and film another video as soon as I got home.

I’m reluctant to talk about the convention too much, purely because I’ll be uploading a detailed, bumper vlog about the weekend to my YouTube channel soon. Look forward to that!

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Thoughts on Summer in the City 2016

As a hectic schedule combined with really bad writer’s block, my YouTube channel died a slow death a few months ago. Now, after an amazing day at the London-based YouTube convention, Summer in the City on Sunday, my passion for video making has returned.

I had the day off work, and I remembered just how great the convention was last year, so on Saturday I bought tickets to SitC. Also, since my good friend from university, Brandon, was going too, we decided to meet-up and look around together.

Without wanting to repeat what I’ve said in my YouTube video above, I went to two panels – ‘quirky is the new mainstream’ and ‘comedy online’ before looking around the stalls, watching some main stage shows and performances, and meeting so many YouTubers I admire.

Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell

The atmosphere was electric and it certainly rubbed off on me, as I was buzzing by the end of the day and wanted to make more videos on my channel. I’ve talked in the past about finding a new interest or passion to talk about online, and SitC helped me find it. Thanks to all the creators I met, the organisers and volunteers for all coming together to make a great event.

So what will I be making videos about in the future? That’s to be revealed, but make sure you’re subscribed to my channel so you know when a new video goes up.

Grace and Amelia, also known as ‘The Mandeville Sisters’ on YouTube.

Also, on Wednesdays, I’ve decided that I should include more poetry on my blog. If this little corner on the Internet is meant to be my online portfolio, then it’s about time I returned to writing poems – something I haven’t done in such a long time.


But anyway, when it comes to SitC, it has been phenomenal. From the panels, to the stalls, to the fellow creators, inspiration and kindness was everywhere and it was a great experience.

Have you been to Summer in the City before? Did you go this year? What did you think? Comment below!

Liam

Weekly Update: My First Blogger Meet-Up (ish)

This week has been a great one. For most of this week, I’ve had time to myself to get a few jobs done before I am off to university again on the 18th. So I’ve been working on articles, going to meetings and generally completing tasks I’ve been meaning to do for a while. But what was even more exciting, was that I went to Cambridge on Tuesday to meet Maeve from Thrift O’Clock!
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For a long time, I’ve seen bloggers talk on Twitter about meeting up in real-life. I would often give it a look, but I was always deterred from getting involved. If it wasn’t the money or travelling side of things, then it was the fear of judgement. This blog is all about the written word, content which is edited to present the best version of ourselves (very much like vloggers on YouTube use editing to show themselves in the best light). Therefore, meeting someone in real life who only knows my online self was always a terrifying concept for me – they’ll see the unedited version of me, as it were. Also, since we’re bloggers who share almost all of our lives online, it’s a meeting where you know a lot about the other person. The funny thing is that they may not know that you know that information – if that makes sense?

However, last year was definitely a turning point in my life, where this anxiety faded. One aspect in my life which caused this was my journalism course at the University of Lincoln. Since I started studying there in September last year, the opportunities I have been presented with required me to try new things and go outside of my comfort zone (for example, a common activity was to actually go out on the high street and interview shoppers about local issues). The whole idea of a journalist being able to approach anyone and start a conversation is a key skill – so I shouldn’t really be shying from going to a blogger meet-up, surely?

The other thing in my life which encouraged me to meet new people (which is actually one of my new year’s resolutions) was being more actively involved in the blogging community. I was involved in more and more Twitter chats and interacted with more of my ‘blogger friends’. Over the course of 2015, I met Maeve and when she said that she was coming over from Ireland to Cambridge for a couple of days, and asked if we wanted to meet-up, I of course said yes – it was an amazing opportunity to meet a good friend who I’d been talking to online for almost a year.

We agreed to meet on the Tuesday in a Costa Coffee in town. After I, rather embarrassingly, went to the wrong Costa Coffee in Cambridge (great first impression, Liam), I met Maeve in a Costa and spent a few hours talking about different things: blogging, and our usual go-to topic of cake. Whilst talking, I had moments where I realised that someone who I had only previously interacted with through a screen, was talking to me in real life. It was very much like when I met my university flatmates for the first time, where I thought: ‘No, you belong on Facebook and Twitter. You’re just icons on my phone’s screens. Wait, what?

But nevertheless, it was wonderful to meet Maeve. I was super excited (sorry about that) and I know going to more blogger meet-ups is definitely something I want to continue to do (of course I want to meet more of you guys!). So, after meeting for lunch, we went our separate ways. Since I still had some spare time, I had some time to explore the city. So, if you want to see more of my time at Cambridge, I made a quick vlog with some footage I took on the day. I talk about finding beauty in everything and some new exciting plans for my channel. I also went to the local Waterstones (of course) and bought a few of Oliver Sacks’ books – which I will no doubt review in the near future.

So that was my week! Thanks must go again to Maeve for agreeing to meet-up with me and for a wonderful afternoon chat. Please do check out her blog and YouTube channel as they really are brilliant.

Have you been to a blogger meet-up? Have you been to Cambridge before? Comment below!

Liam

The Online Audience: Individuals or Communities? | The Wednesday Article

Naturally, British culture expands and grows every year. Within that, we create our own subcultures, groups and communities. Whilst we may not like being labelled, we can’t complain when we enjoy the benefits that come with belonging to a specific, restricted subculture. But when an audience is grouped together, do we value group privileges over our own individuality?

In terms of this debate, the answer lies in two of the most popular social media platforms. On YouTube, numerous ‘YouTubers’ or vloggers have often spoken out about the dangers of fandoms on the video-sharing site. In particular, some have talked about the risk of an aggressive fandom if an audience is grouped together. Another example is this video by Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell, entitled No Fandom.

However, micro-blogging site Tumblr presents the other side of the equation. For users of the site, the fandom aspect is one thing which makes Tumblr what it is. It is the site for sharing in-jokes, references and reactions to TV shows, films and books. But when everyone has the same thoughts on the show, is it possible for a member of the community to express an individual opinion and feel involved in the subculture at the same time?

So whilst users in YouTube comments may turn nasty if grouped into a community, fandoms on Tumblr thrive for an individual connection with the show, book etc. they love.

With that in mind, is there any way to satisfy an online audience?

What do you think? If you’re a blogger, do you refer to your audience as an individual, or a collective? Vote in the poll above and comment below!

Liam

Weekly Update: Results and Thoughts on SitC

This week was an eventful, but exciting one. First of all, on Thursday, I received my A-Level results. They were better than I expected and I’m thrilled to say that I will be studying Journalism at the University of Lincoln in September. Then, later that week, I went to this year’s Summer in the City.

 

For those who don’t know, Summer in the City is a UK convention for YouTubers or vloggers. Whilst, obviously, I am a blogger not a vlogger, that is not to say that I am not a fan of some of the creators that were there on Friday.

So on Friday, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for an organisation called Do Something. Throughout the day I was on their stall getting creators and visitors registered for a new campaign which Do Something are doing. The campaign is called ‘1 in 4 of us’, and is all about promoting positive and healthy relationships. You can find out more about the campaign here.

But as well as helping out Do Something, I also had some time to explore the convention itself. Even before I had entered the Excel, I bumped into my good friend Ollie. He is an amazingly talented photographer (take a look at his Twitter, Instagram and website) and was taking some photos at the event.

Additionally, TomSka (creator of asdfmovie) had his stall situated opposite ours, so after a quick lunch break I popped over to say hello. There was no queue at the time so I was able to have a nice, friendly chat about writing, comedy and the University of Lincoln (since he also studied there, which is where I’ll be going) as well as getting an autograph and a picture. Whilst looking around at the other stalls I was also fortunate to bump into Luke Cutforth/Lukeisnotsexy and Gary C – both were really friendly as well and Gary even stopped by our Do Something stall for a moment, which was really cool.

On a separate note, Do Something were kind enough to let me use their Twitter to live-tweet a panel! As a budding journalist/PR manager I was thrilled and live-tweeted a talk by Simeon Quarrie called ‘How to make your videos rock’. It was such a fun experience and Simeon even retweeted one of my tweets later on in the day, which was good to see!

Also, whilst on the Do Something stall, some of the visitors to Summer in the City who came up to me whilst I was on the stand were all so kind, chatty and friendly. In particular, I met Teddy (you can follow her on Twitter here) and Cathe (you can follow her on Twitter here and read her blog here), and it was really nice to meet them both!


Admittedly, I was so surprised by how nice everyone was at the event. It was my first Summer in the City and it was definitely a great experience. I really hope, if the opportunity arises once again, that I could volunteer at next year’s event. Thanks again to the brilliant team at Do Something for letting me come along for the day as I had an absolute blast!

Did you go to Summer in the City this year? Have you been in the past? Who are your favourite YouTubers? Comment below!

Liam

Review: All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

The teenage years have always been known for their unpredictability. We are expected to know what we want to do for a career as well as pass the exams that ‘will determine the rest of your life’. Then you’ve got the rush of hormones, peer pressure and possible romance.

Thankfully, YouTuber and West-End performer Carrie Hope Fletcher is here to offer a helping hand through the bumpy ride of teenage life with her debut book, All I Know Now.

With anecdotes from Carrie along the way, as well as occasional moments of hindsight, All I Know Now’s semi-autobiographical tone gives the book a more personal feel – something many advice books today struggle to achieve.

Additionally, Carrie is quick to predict the trends of teenage life and organise it into simple categories or ‘acts’ such as: dreams, relationships and making friends. As well as this, other sections of the book keep to the theatrical theme. For instance, the ‘props’ section contains a list of useful contacts for young people, whilst the introductory prologue begins with the book’s personal tone. Let’s not forget, of course, the book’s vibrant yellow and purple colour scheme, which makes the book even more welcoming and vibrant.

Another great part of this book is that it has the ability to be a great book for future reference. Also, when reading it in full, I wanted to keep reading more! It wasn’t long before I had finished the book and felt like I had learned a lot of useful information and tips along the way.

Understandably, a few people out there will roll their eyes at the fact that a large amount of YouTubers are now publishing books of their own. However, with Carrie having such a strong desire to write a book of her own and to help other people, this book is definitely an exception.

Written in a style that is friendly with bursts of wit and humour, Carrie Hope Fletcher’s All I Know Now is the perfect companion to the roller-coaster of emotions that is teenage life.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Liam

Many thanks to the kind people at Little Brown for sending me a copy of this book! All I Know Now is available to buy now on Amazon, Waterstones and iBooks.