Thinking Digital: the next generation

Thinking digital have recently decided to branch out and provide some of the big thinking of the full conference to teenagers in the north west in a unique collaboration with Gateshead council. When Herb filled me on on the idea, there was no way I was going to say no.

My talk was a bit about who I am, what I do and what the BBC is doing up in the north. Then the bulk of it was about Tweetfoxxy which I've been very quiet about recently. It was good to talk to people aged 16-21, but boy are they a hard audience too. Anyway, it was a good experience and I had quite a few people coming up afterwards asking questions about me and the BBC, so although I was talking maybe a tad quickly, most of it got across. If I was to do it again I would do a talk about why some of us think broadcasting is dead. Obviously this wouldn't be a official BBC presentation but maybe more a thoughtful presentation which I have done elsewhere before.

The whole conference was pretty uplifting in nature and it seems to had the crowd buzzing afterwards which was good. It was a shame one of the colleges yanked all there students out halfway through the day and that the last 3 talks about games were more about what you can go and build now in your bedroom rather that how to join a traditional games studio. There was lots of talk about fitting into the studio and was dying to ask a question about not fitting in. But today was for the teenagers not for old farts like me to ask the difficult questions.

The presentation and almost performance of the day almost went to Paul Callaghan who ended his talk with a sing along, Tom Scott did another excellent job of showing how fun graphs can be if your slightly geeky. but the best has to be the FT guy (Mike Southon) who demostrated how collaboration, team work, being positive and being smart all lead to the successful Beatles strategy. Put it this way, I didn't even know most of the things he was talking about and I was totally convinced after hearing the whole presentation. Man I really need to learn how to do presentations like that.

Most things in the conference clicked including the inclusion of a young band (The Ruskins) to play us out before lunch and before going home. They played 4 songs in total and kept everyone entertained along with the talks. The venue of the sage 2 is simply amazing in all aspects except the lack of power to anywhere in the room. If I could choose anywhere to put on a conference, this would be high in my recommendation. Talking about venues, I've been in talks with the Baltic again about using it for a BarCamp in the North West, so hopefully that will go somewhere before the next thinking digital conference because I know there were plans to have another one straight after the conference.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.