Day 1 @ Thinking Digital


Today the Thinking Digital conference kicked off at The Sage in Gateshead. This is my first visit to the conference and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The audience is made up of mainly ‘suits’, journalists, media people, as well as academics from various universities from the UK. I’m not really sure whether the suits were really grasping many of the points that were discussed. Nevertheless, I found the speaker presentations to be very good. My synopsis follows below.

The morning sessions focused on the Future of Media. Matt Locke discussed all of the exciting work he and his team are doing at Channel 4. Matt is the commissioning editor of the education team. I’ve heard a lot about Matt over the last year. But this was the first time I’ve actually heard him speak. I was very impressed. Matt is ‘switched on’ to the social media world in a big way. He discussed how his team had been researching, what he termed the ‘six spaces’ for communication and interaction. The talk addressed the challenges in working out the etiquettes for communication in these spaces:

Secret Spaces – Mobile, SMS, IM

Group Spaces – Bebo, Facebook, Tagged etc,

Publishing Spaces – Livejournal, Blogger, Flickr, Photobucket, Etc

Performing Spaces – Second Life, World of Warcraft, Home, etc

Participation Spaces – Marches, Meetings, Markets, Events, etc

Watching Spaces – TV

There’s a nice report I found on Channel 4’s website which discusses the conducted research in depth. Education Briefing: Using New Media To Engage Teenage Audiences

Next, Eric Lindstrom discussed how video content is now being brought to market using ‘multi channels’. Eric had a great quote, “The new baby of the internet is entertainment…”. We were also shown a hilarious video which you can see below. What happens, when Facebook meets the real world?   Be afraid…


The next speaker was Jeremy Silver, and his presentation focused on the music industry. In particular, how this music industry is evolving and the new opportunities which have arisen in areas such as discovering new talent, music consumption, music discovery and music review.

In the afternoon session, “United we stand”, Darren Thwaites described how his newspaper, The Evening Gazette, had embraced social media with “hyper local citizen journalism” with amazing results.  I was particularly impressed with how “community bloggers” were writing stories in their local areas and posting them on the gazette blog site. The Evening Gazette’s move into social media interestingly did not cannibalise the sales of the traditional paper copy. In fact, paper distribution increased as a result of the move to social media, very cool. 

The next speaker was Ian Kennedy from Cisco, who described some of the innovative ways Cisco is helping teams to collaborate in distributed global environments. This included an incredible video of ‘telepresence’ –  two people apparently on stage together. However, one person was in Bangalore, the other in California. Gosh, Star Trek becomes reality!

The delightful Tara Hunt, [Miss Rogue] ended the morning session with a passionate account of the “Bar Camp” concept and other innovative collaborative techniques. Tara is an amazing, lively and energetic speaker. She’s also a very groovy chick. I can’t express her passion for Bar Camp in words. So, watch the video below!

Here is the Bar Camp Manifesto:

“We the geeks hereby declare that we have the means to do it ourselves, so from this point forward we are not employee 95362 or 43671. We are talented and sought after individuals who can and will find the means to break free of your cubicles and ivory towers. We don’t give a damn if you have the attention of 10 billion sticky eyeballs. We don’t give a shit about sticky eyeballs. We give a shit about people. We are independent, empowered, and en-fucking-gaged.” Rock on!

I should really should get involved in this stuff! Seriously. Bar Camps plant the seeds for changing the world….forever

Tara’s presentations follow:

Happiness as Your Business Model

Barcamp and Coworking: United We Stand…as Starfish

The Starfish and the Spider –  book recommendation

My good matey, the Geek in Disguise presented a number of Microsoft demos to the audience.

The demos included :



Deep Zoom

Live Mesh

I recorded the demo on Steve’s camera, so hopefully it will be uploaded into the cloud soon. In the meantime, check out Ian Forrester’s video below. Steve is a greater speaker and I don’t know how much Microsoft are paying him. But Mr Neil Holloway sir, please pay him more!

Finally, a presentation made by Jonathan Harris made me stop, think and took my breath away. Yep, I had a Scoble moment. Jonathan’s awesome work made me cry with tears of wonderment and joy.

Jonathan Harris @ TED


Please check out his sites located at:

Courtesy of Ian Forrester [Cubicgarden] from BBC Backstage. Please check out videos from the day’s sessions.

Day One

Session 1: The Future of Media
Matt Locke
Eric Lindstrom & Steve Jelley
Jeremy Silver

Session 2: United We Stand
Darren Thwaites
Ian Kennedy
Tara Hunt

An Entrepreneur’s Story
Sean Phelan

Thinking Digital Tech Demo
Steve Clayton

Session 3: Happiness
Helen Fisher
Caspar Berry
Jonathan Harris

Session 4: The Singularity
Ian Neild
Ray Kurzweil (via Teleportec)

Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+