Keynote interview with Zuckerberg is embarrassing to watch sometimes, but feel free to take a look yourself here (fragment).
There is plenty of commentary of course, about Sarah Lacy putting herself in the spotlight instead of her rather more interesting guest, not knowing her audience, and failing to get a clue even afterwards, but more interesting for me are comments related to twitter.
And yet I was there in another way, listening to and even interacting with some of my friends in the audience, picking up on the vibe in the room and even tuning in later as Sarah Lacy loudly defended herself.
I was there because I was plugged into Twitter, the instant messaging service that lets users send short text messages to anyone who cares to tune in, online or on their mobile phone.
I think another factor in the keynote’s downfall was the use of Twitter as a so-called ‘back channel’. With keynote attendees able to share live commentary instantly, a negative response can spread like wildfire in a profound way that is very different to what’s possible without such connectivity.
What’s particularly fascinating is how quickly the criticism and vitriol started to flow as the interview started to go pear-shaped. While Twitter emerged out of nowhere last year at SXSW as a tool to tell people what was happening, Twitter’s took centre stage again this year to blare out anti-Lacy pronouncements in real-time.
Participants are able to turn event into a discussion forum in real time. Both exciting and scary (when you imagine yourself running the event).