Inmates take over the SXSW asylum

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Boy, talk about timing! I just finished publishing this post and its musings about technology adoption etc., etc., when I ran across this post on A Wider Net about attendees basically hijacking a keynote interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the SXSW media and music conference. Holy cannoli--check out the video.

Here's the short form: Basically, the audience wasn't happy with the way the interview was going, and instead of walking out, they took over. Here's Rob's description:

    Fueled by Twittr, the mobile phone networked community of people constantly twittering (text messaging meets a chat room) about what they’re doing at any given time, the crowd started to build up a hearty amount of disdain over the content on stage. Soon all of Twittr was dominated with conversations about this train wreck of an interview. Then, the worst of social media took over - the crowd simply started shouting out questions and took over the interview.

Frankly, I don't think this was a bad thing, though I'm sure the journalist doing the interview would disagree. She was asking dumb, self-aggrandizing questions, and that the crowd took her to task for it, well, just think of it as a real-time evaluation, combined with a chance to salvage the keynote and give people what they wanted. (Some people point out that Zucherberg is a notoriously difficult interview and she did the best she could. In that case, perhaps he wasn't the best choice for an interview-format keynote, eh?).

Was it rude? Oh yeah. Did it hurt the interviewer's feelings? Probably. But this is just a high-tech version of the tomato-throwing that's been going on as long as acts have been on a stage, IMHO. It's just that the reach is longer now that it extends beyond the auditorium and into cyberspace.

All I can say is: The buyers are no longer willing to put up with goods they deem unworthy of their time and attention when it comes to conferences, and they may not be shy about letting the speaker know it. Caveat orator.

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