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SXSWi – BBC Digital Planet Live at SXSW Interactive


(3/13/2010) In years past, BBC and their 6 Music crew have created quite a fanfare at SXSW. I expect the belts were tight in 2010, since the only hide or hair of BBC was the Digital Planet people who arrived to serve us up with a delightful dish of geek, comedy and witty banter; and an Interactive game to entertain the audience.

The host of this first-ever live radio broadcast, Gareth Mitchell, introduced the others at the table, including Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg, June Cohen, Director of Media for TED, Dan Gillmor, a technology writer, and a regular guest on the Digital Planet show, Bill Thompson.

Mitchell began the session with some breaking news: the geeks, for the first time in SXSW history, have supreme power over the skinny jean crowd that would arrive in Austin next week. Yes, Interactive badges outsold Music badges, for a whopping 15,000 attendees.

Next, we were invited to pull up a quiz game on our laptops and smartphones where we could all vote our answers to various questions posed. So while the panel discussed serious topics where culture meets tech, such as the human rights blogger in Egypt going to prison for his postings, we voted on what we had consumed the most since arriving in Austin. The winner: Alka-Seltzer and Advil.

[UPDATE: I found this video after posting the review. I was one of the many typing away during the session; the one with the pink notebook computer. Yes. Pink computer.] 

Other lively Digital Planet topics included the invention of an application that “drowns out” any embarrassing noising that may occur when you’re in the restroom (the scenes in “Along Came Polly” and “Dumber and Dumber” came to mind), to our society’s transition into an accepted interruptive culture where people freak out when we don’t immediately answer a text, Facebook post and the link.

Since we were at the convention of invention, I felt it was appropriate that one of the last quizzes of the session asked us to throw out ideas for our own inventions. One person threw out the idea for instant translation on social apps, another wanted a Digg board game. But the one that got a round of applause was “Uninventing the BBC cutbacks on 6 Music.”


Listen to BBC Digital Planet online at:


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