Over the weekend, thousands of people descended on the Birmingham NEC to meet their favourite YouTubers, TikTokers and internet stars.
In some ways, the NEC looked and felt a lot like the ExCel Centre (home to the more longstanding summer edition). But it was cold, and we were in Birmingham now.
After we got over the initial shock though, we had a great time watching panel discussions, live performances and having hundreds and hundreds of hugs!
Social in the City: Winter Edition (WitC? SitC? We’ll never get that right) was smaller than its summer equivalent, but on the whole, we think that gave the event a more intimate feel.
For those who couldn’t make it, here are some of our favourite moments from the event!
1) ALL the hugs
Despite how much YouTube conventions have grown in size, there has been one constant throughout the years, and that’s hugs. Tonnes of them.
We always love to see the looks of joy on people’s faces when they meet their fave creators, and the creators’ smiles are just as priceless too!
2) This hero
Why get your SitC schedule or merch signed when you can have your entire face covered in sharpie? …we’re assuming they’re not going to be showering for a while?
3) I’m an influencer, get me out of here!
Since Jack Maynard‘s departure from I’m A Celeb in 2017, there hasn’t been another YouTuber in the jungle, so it’s about time they made their own version! At least that’s what the Viral Trends & Challenges Online panellists thought.
They suggested Joe Tasker and Lee Hinchliffe could host the show, although Lee admitted he’d rather be a contestant. In his words, “I don’t mind eating some bugs and that.”
4) Rocking out with Emma Blackery on Sunday
To say Emma‘s performance rocked would be an understatement. Despite the smaller crowd on Sunday night, she brought so much energy and magic to the stage that she had all of us dancing like crazy and singing along with all her songs.
She even treated us to one of her latest songs, the mellow yet powerful ballad Plot Holes. What a way to close off the weekend!
5) The ‘ice’ rink
OK, the rink wasn’t quite what any of us had expected, for starters, there wasn’t actually any ice to be found, we had a lot of fun watching everyone brave it in their skates!
Watching YouTube stars skating on ice. Very entertaining! 😂 @sitc @YTCreators #SitC2019 pic.twitter.com/OgLvgnsCIp
— Mark S.W. 🎥🎬 (@DalekSram) December 1, 2019
6) Real talk at Creator Honesty Hour
This panel was a brilliant blend of the serious and the hilarious.
The panellists discussed their limits when talking about their personal lives online. Daniel J. Layton and Emma both admitted to sharing quite a bit in the past, but as time’s gone on they’ve become much more reserved.
And on the hilarious (but probably also very inconvenient) side, Noah Finn Adams shared that he’d had the comments on his channel disabled last year when YouTube was tightening its policies on child-friendly content, as he’d been assumed to be under 16. He’s now 20.
7) Talia Mar’s gorgeous performance on Saturday
Talia Mar has a way of making even the biggest venues feel close and intimate. We always love her mix of up-tempo pop and chilled out acoustic, and we weren’t alone! The whole crowd was captivated by her performance, swaying and singing along the whole time.
8) Bringing Olaf to life
We’re always gobsmacked by Jamie Jo‘s artistic talent and how she manages to create such beautiful and realistic paintings, on stage, in front of a crowd of people. One audience member was lucky enough to take Jamie’s painting home with them from the event! (We’re not jealous… promise.)
9) Finding the balance with activism on YouTube
Tackling serious issues online has always been a bit of a minefield. But the Activism & Sustainability panellists had some great advice on how to do this, including finding the balance between getting your point across and sounding like you’re just preaching constantly.
They also mentioned how quick people can be to unfairly judge YouTubers if they don’t speak up on important issues.
Read more in our upcoming panel recap.
10) Snagging some amazing art
There were some wonderful artists selling their wares at the event, and of course, being artists and all, they had the most beautifully decorated stands. We definitely weren’t the only ones spending time marvelling over their creations!
11) Everyone realising just how big of a deal TikTok is
One of the biggest takeaways from Social in the City: Winter Edition was just how quickly TikTok is growing, with creators like James and Lewis Sharp, Emily Steers and Lauren Kearns, AllAboutBants, Abby Roberts and Taha Khan making a name for themselves on the new platform.
And by quick, we really do mean quick. We met Ronnie Warwick at the event, who set up his TikTok in August 2019 and has already amassed over 200,000 followers. So watch out, YouTube. TikTok is coming for you!
12) The man who just wanted to read his paper
It’s important, sometimes, to remember the real heroes of SitC – the parents. This man doesn’t care what’s trending on TikTok, he’s not planning on getting a photo with the SitC letters and he certainly didn’t enter the meet & greet ballot. He just wants to catch up on the latest headlines in peace. And we applaud him for that.
Photos by AJ Brinnand, Jasmine Greene, George Yonge and Poppy Dillon.
So there you have it!
These were, in our humble opinion, the best parts of the very first Social in the City: Winter Edition. Did we miss something you enjoyed? If so, tweet us @TenEightyUK!
Want more? Check out our coverage of Buffer Festival and Summer in the City 2019:
- Buffer Festival 2019: Recap
- Fives Things We Learned from Creator Honesty Hour Panel at Summer in the City 2019
- State of the Community Panel at Summer in the City 2019
For updates follow @TenEightyUK on Twitter or like TenEighty UK on Facebook.