TEDx Manchester – some thoughts

I attended TEDx Manchester yesterday – a half-day of presentations and debate on technology, entertainment and design (the TED of the title). I’m still digesting much of what was put out, because there was an awful lot packed into the five-hour programme. Apparently, too, this was the biggest TED event in Europe to date – at a rough guess, the audience numbered around 200. BBC Manchester had kindly opened its doors yet again to Manchester’s huge creative and digital community (it has twice hosted the Social Media Café this year) and TEDx took place in Studio 7, normally reserved for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

As with a lot of these kind of events, the quality of the speakers and their presentations varied. I’m pleased that most of the TEDx Manchester panel was up to scratch. I was left disappointed by Dr Mariann Hardey’s presentation on social media etiquette, which focused largely on how to use platforms such as Facebook – given that probably almost everyone at TEDx is digitally savvy enough to have been using social media for some time (as evidenced by the heavy tweeting during the afternoon), it was surely a case of preaching to the long-converted. Likewise, Matthew Postgate’s (head of R&D at BBC Future Media and Technology) presentation on what the BBC are doing with social media left me with the impression that the BBC is desperate to be seen as up to speed when it comes to social media platforms but is still struggling to catch up with what ordinary people are doing digitally. This does raise some interesting issues – firstly, that the BBC seems very keen to grab user-generated content for its vast website without paying for it (and indeed that raises the further question of should it pay for it out of the licence fee?).

And secondly, with the BBC being funded by licence-fee payers, just how much should it be spending on investing in digital projects of whatever sort instead of on programming? Clearly, as technology moves forward at an astonishing pace and changes how the viewing and listening public want to receive their media, the BBC needs to keep up and it has indeed done some ground-breaking stuff, like iPlayer. But just where does that remit start and stop? This came to the fore later in the programme when Hugh Garry (senior content producer for BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra) showed us a film he’d created by handing out mobile phones to the crowd at a music festival and told them to just go and film whatever they fancied then hand the phones back. The clip we saw was extraordinary in its creativity and looked as good as anything shot on a proper film camera. But what does filmmaking have to do with radio?

There was also a third BBC staffer on the panel, Marc Goodchild (head of interactive and on demand at BBC Children) who talked about creating digital content for children. I tuned out a lot here, not having kids myself and not knowing any of the programmes he mentioned, but he did raise a couple of points that caught my attention, largely because they weren’t 100% accurate. Firstly, Goodchild said the QWERTY keyboard was basically not very good because it meant you had to learn how to type and they keys were all in a funny order, etc. I was quite staggered by this as I’ve never learned to touch-type – I basically get by with a couple of fingers, like many do – but it hasn’t hindered me in 30 years of earning a living using a QWERTY keyboard. You simply do not need to be able to type “properly” to use a keyboard to communicate digitally. The other point I perked up at was his mention of needing to rethink how they provided interactivity as, for example, a conventional mouse is too big for a child’s small hands – children are very active with technology from as young as 5 but are adapting themselves to deal with accessories designed for adults. His comment that technology design for children is not being driven forward because there’s no money in it (“small hands do not have big wallets”) is not really true because children don’t need to buy their own technology – their parents buy it for them and today’s parents have very deep wallets when it comes to spending on their kids.

Incidentally, as an aside, I’m pleased I was one among many who was very irritated when the floor was opened to questions and some people took the opportunity to not ask questions but instead rant about everything that’s wrong with the BBC. This was not why we were at TEDx and it was an appalling abuse of the limited chances to raise issues from the audience, depriving others who really did have questions of the possibility to ask them.

Only two of the presentations were non-digital. Architectural expert Phil Griffin gave a truly inspiring talk and slideshow on the built environment, with a very obvious local focus. As I’m relatively new to living in Manchester and still finding my way round, seeing the interiors of some amazing historic buildings that have been regenerated for different purposes was fascinating. A lot of Manchester’s mills have been turned into living accommodation, for example, or modern work spaces or even night clubs. Griffin made the strong point that while building new buildings can be important (illustrated neatly with a slide of the new BBC premises being constructed at Media City in Salford), it’s also vital to “bodge, make do and mend” as he put it – to reuse the many magnificent but decaying and boarded-up old buildings scattered by the hundreds across this wonderful city, which has turned the notion of recreating itself into an art form already in so many ways. Sustainability, in other words. Global Socialite’s blog on TEDx Manchester expands on Griffin’s contribution, picking up on the notion that the non-digital remains vitally important in the exchange of ideas.

Sustainability was an unspoken theme running through the presentation given by Sarah Hartley, digital editor at The Guardian, who spoke about the importance of local journalism and how communities provide the lifeblood for journalism at every level, as they are the source of so many stories as well as sustaining local media. She pointed out that much of what journalists do is now done by ordinary people, through blogs and online communities. She cited Help Me Investigate as one pertinent example of people coming together to investigate local issues with the help of journalists as a way to break important stories. Hartley noted news pioneers are often community activists, too, and that many local news blogs are popping up run by such activists to fill the gap left when local papers get closed. This merging of press and activism is leading to what her editor at The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, has called the mutualisation of news. We can probably expect to hear this phrase a lot more in the near future as the Guardian goes head to head with News International and Rupert Murdoch: two very different news models are emerging with the kind of locally fed and supported, community-sustained mutualisation facing off Murdoch’s forthcoming paywalls. Seeing which one will ultimately dominate is going to preoccupy media commentators for the near future.

Ben Light, a professor at the University of Salford, turned the gathering into “TEDsex” with his illuminating presentation on how gay men brand themselves on dating websites. He used popular site Gaydar to illustrate his findings about online identities, stereotyping and fascinating market data, such as gay men being more likely to use all the obscure features on a mobile phone than straight people. It was clear that much of Light’s research about personal branding applies to non-gays who date online, too, and there was much laughter at a question from the floor about whether the professor had pursued his findings on other niche online dating websites, such as those for people who practise BDSM.

The final presentation was by Paul Coulton, who undertakes mobile research at the University of Lancaster, who gave a very entertaining talk on mobile gaming. I’m not much of a gamer at all and certainly not on my phone, but he held my attention with his wit and some startling statistics, such as that for every four babies born, 27 mobile phones hit the market and that with more than 4 billion owning a cellphone we have truly become cyborgs. Coulton breaks down games and gamers into different types, such as pre-Raphaelite (the Wii apparently being one of these – I’ll take his word for it as I don’t own one). I’m not convinced by his statement that gaming can change the world but I’m happy to accept that gaming has changed the way people interact with each other.

All in all, Tedx Manchester probably raised far more questions than the panel could ever attempt to answer. There was a feeling the surface had barely been scratched on some discussions while it was great to have new topics (such as the gay research) thrown open for our perusal. The TED concept is spreading so we can expect to see more of these events popping up around the UK. I certainly hope it will return to Manchester before too long. Thanks are due to the BBC for hosting and to the huge team who worked hard to pull it all together (details of whom are on the TEDx Manchester website).

The Twitter stream for #tedxman can be seen here and here if you are interested.

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25 thoughts on “TEDx Manchester – some thoughts”

  1. cyberdoyle

    I think you hit the nail on the head in your article. The big institutions like the BBC aren’t getting IT. The experts aren’t getting IT. The brave new world out there is happening with or without them. Anyone taking the time and trouble to attend a TED already knows how it is happening, and, as you pointed out, some speakers are preaching to the converted.

    Re Paul, I totally agree with him, games are the future. – It is by playing games that kids get interested, that leads to work applications…
    …to get people using technology there has to be some fun element. To get mouse control it is better to play solitaire than design a complicated spreadsheet. Gaming can change the world in more ways than one. The countries with the highest bandwidth will reap the benefits. The ones in the digital slow lane (like the UK) will be left in the dark ages.
    Maybe one of the main points of TED conferences is just to make people think?

  2. I was at FutureSonic here in Manchester in April and had the same feeling with some of the keynote speakers who addressed the plenary. Stowe Boyd, highly respected as a web2.0 analyst, said nothing new or interesting. I was waiting for a big revelation that never came. Likewise, Rachel O’Connor of Bebo used her slot simply to plug Bebo, whereas the audience had expected some serious analysis of teen online habits. Both these and the speakers at TEDx Manchester I’ve criticised would probably have found their speeches going down well with a different audience, one that is not clued up about the digital world. It’s pointless talking like that to people who are ahead of them, though.

    Thanks for your comments about gaming. TED certainly does make people think, and that’s its strength. I certainly came home with a jumble of ideas whirling around my brain, for which I am profoundly grateful – it’s good to have one’s mind expanded.

  3. cyberdoyle

    Grassroots people should speak at these things, they know what is going on. The experts only think they do!
    I watched the TED video of Gordon Brown saying that the UK was going to lead the world with next generation internet access, and realised he had been fed serious mis-information, the UK is going to be on copper last mile for many years to come, and that puts us in the slow lane, not the fast one. The copper cabal is still in control, and the latest proposals to milk government funding to install more copper will get through unless a bright MP picks up on IT. Doubt they will though.
    Regarding Bebo, we have found 8 yr old girls posing as 18yr old ‘sexychicks’ with photos taken on their phones in bedrooms! Bebo seems to be for very young teens.

    The research guys at the uni’s know a lot of stuff, but getting that info to the orgs is quite difficult, because orgs tend to rely on press releases and info from quangos instead of checking with real people first. Quango info is usually at least a year out of date.

    Thanks for your quick response to my comment, it makes it worthwhile posting when someone bothers to read it! Kudos.

  4. @chris Interested to read your comments and I think you make a very valid point about grassroots people speaking at such events. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be part of the TalkAboutLocal unconference (twitter tagged #tal09)
    It achieved exactly what I think you’re hoping for – grassroots people coming to gether to share their experiences and knowledge. It worked brilliantly but I think part of its success (apart from the enthusiasm of all involved) was the tight remit – hyperlocal websites. TED’s range was perhaps slightly different – it’s not often you’d get the BBC, social science and Gaydar in one event! I certainly got a lot out of the day and hop others did too.

  5. Pingback: TED X Manchester in conclusion « Sarah Hartley

  6. I couldn’t get to TEDx Manchester, so I followed the hashtag as best I could, and your post reflects the mood of the audience that I picked up on via Twitter – particularly about the social media etiquette and BBC presentations.

    It’s interesting, reviewing the hashtags, to see which talks got tweeted the most – I’d say Sarah Hartley and Ben Light topped the leaderboard (and the tweets about their talks were complimentary, unlike the background discussion to Matthew Postgate’s talk).

    Your thoughts on the BBC and UGC are very interesting, particularly since it’s an area newspapers are looking to expand. I personally detest the term UGC (it’s utterly meaningless – user? user of what?) and I’m far more interested in our industry working with readers to create collaborative content.
    I could see that working in two ways: a jouranlist [producing content in tandem with the audience; and the audience acting independently but using the newspaper’s brand strength as a platform for greater reach.

    I think the BBC could have a huge opportunity with a more collaborative approach – especially given the way it’s funded – and it’s a shame this doesn’t seem to be the case.

  7. The BBC were heavily represented here, for sure. Not nescessarily a bad thing, as they are one of the better-funded, more trusted media organisations in the world.

    The sticking point with the BBC’s involvement with online media is the middle B in their name – broadcast. The web isn’t a broadcast medium; how do they exist in this new space? We don’t get into a ‘horseless carriage’ after a night on the town, yet this is how motorised taxis framed themselves for a long time. The de-horsing of the carriage had a more transformative impact than the mere change in the nature of the engine – it has defined the major geopolitical issues of the 20th century.

    Talking to some of the presenters from the BBC afterwards, it struck me they still live in a world where the B is at the core of their identity; platforms such as YouTube act simply to funnel up talent to a centralised, Broadcast activity. It fails to engage the potential that the UK’s biggest online and media technology developer has – the BBC is the defacto mediator of what life in the UK is; why is that still happening through a funnel? The tools that allowed the BBC to exist in the first place, and it was a bold and forward-looking programme to establish it, considering the cost at the time vs the small and privileged audience who would benefit from it. By imposing their old broadcast mentality on a different media landscape, it simply frames the BBC as another player, not a leader. Why are they building on platforms such as Movable Type internally – why are they not creating and opening a Google-Wave style system? Why is their technological innovation limited to airwaves-over-IP rather than facilitation peer-to-peer content creation and exploring new commissioning practices?

    Thanks for your write-up Louise.

  8. @Alison I always laugh at the term UGC, mainly because I lived in France for several years, where UGC is the name of the country’s biggest cinema chain so I associate it with film rather than content, but you’re right – user of what? I do worry that the Beeb is dipping into areas outside its remit as a public service broadcaster and given the recent outrage over internal expenses, licence-fee payers are rightly concerned about how their money is spent. I really struggle to see how Hugh Garry can justify spending “our” money on his film, fab as it was, because radio staff should be spending money on radio programming, not on making mobile movies that very few people will see. It proves a creative point, for sure, but I don’t think the BBC should be doing such stuff unless it’s part of their cultural programme on one of their TV channels.

    The BBC is certainly going to need to find a way to collaborate better with us folk who help fund it. Sarah Hartley’s points about communities working with journalists are perhaps a way forward for the Beeb to try.

    @Dave wow! You raise some very pertinent questions about that middle B. The BBC is indeed trusted and is central to life in the UK. I personally love the Beeb, despite its many faults, and believe it offers us extraordinarily good value for our money. As you say, it needs to stop being a player who is playing catch-up and start being a leader again, an innovator. But its sticking point is its remit as a public service broadcaster – this is what causes the problem in how it tries to engage with “new” media, and leads to the existing tensions with what it’s trying to do. Perhaps the solution is to redefine that remit to allow for the vast changes that have occurred since the BBC made its first transmission. But that’s a whole new political argument that I fear will never be thrashed out.

  9. Good write-up Louise. I think you’re right, it was a mixed bag of presentations. I’m still disappointed that Phil Griffin doesn’t seem to be online, as his was the stand-out talk for me.

    To follow on from Dave’s comment, I wonder if Channel 4 could eclipse the BBC as the more relevant broadcaster (if I can still use that term just to define who I’m talking about 🙂 With 4ip they’re moving into some interesting areas and getting involved with some of the more forward-thinking initiatives around digital.

    And finally, if you’re after more clued-up presentations then you should come along to any of the Barcamp events – and handily there’s one in Manchester next month, see http://barcamp.pbworks.com/BarCampManchester2

    (and in digging out that URL I see you’ve already signed up, but it might be of interest to anyone else who stumbles upon my comment 🙂

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  11. Louise, good write-up. From a Speakers perspective you’ve captured the noise of discussions and quality of the day.

    It is a shame you were left ‘disappointed’ by my talk, but at least this was only to be endured for 15mins.

    Rather than preaching to the converted, my take was to stress the importance to – both the converted (and others) – take heed about the ways the web, and other social platforms are shaping how people manage social lives, and interactions emerge as states of being constatnly WITH others. As Phil Griffin and others pointed out, the BBC is not the only ‘centre’ to capitalise on the ubiquity of networked devices. Resources that include Social Network Sites (SNS), Blogs, RSS etc. now have millions of users. My point, albeit lost in the milieu of Tedx, was about the broader consequences for social life, interaction and behaviour. Especially we consider how not only social platforms are increasingly ubiquitous, but so too is our personal information and personal – which make us trackable and observable in an instant. Take for example the trackbacks to this post!

    Thanks again.

  12. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your post on TEDx Manchester. I hope you enjoyed the event and had chance to meet lots of great people too. I did, and I got some good things from it.

    Yes I felt TEDX Manchester to be “a tad short on impressive, inspirational contributors” overall. However, I went on to write about three speakers who gave, in my opinion, great talks that were very much in the spirit of what I’ve enjoyed so much about TED Global.

    I don’t think my post, in context, expressed disappointment that some contributors were “from mainstream media organisations” (I’m a journalist, I work with mainstream organisations, as well as new ones, and will continue to do so, hopefully working together to improve things and include/serve a wider range of people).

    What I said was “I’m not sure TEDxManchester, composed mainly of speakers currently employed in traditional media organisations and academic jobs, really provided a sense of vision even a fraction of that for which TED is now famous.”.

    There are folk working in mainstream media and academic posts, and from a huge range of backgrounds, who are “remarkable, uplifting, outstanding people who have made things happen, overcome obstacles, and created meaningful stuff.” We need more of these people at TEDx.

    I understand TED is about, and by extension TEDx, “ideas worth spreading”. These are usually presented by unique people with a depth of knowledge and an original or surprising “take” on their subject. Perhaps I’ve come to expect that from all contributors.

    So, in my opinion, TEDx Manchester didn’t, on the whole, “give us the chance to hear more from leaders who can give us the benefit of their wisdom and experience, motivate us toward possibility thinking, and push us a bit further on through the challenges we face?”.

    I did say “maybe I was expecting too much in the light of what I know of Big TED?” but I think many will agree the use of the brand name “TED” does set the bar very high in anticipated quality and inspirational value.

    To be fair to the TEDx Manchester organisers, that’s a lot to live up to! They’ve already said they appreciate our honest feedback and will take it on board when considering future events.

    Thanks very much for taking the time to read these comments. I know they are long but I’m grateful for the opportunity to explain my thoughts.

    All the best,


    This comment was originally posted on Sarah Hartley

  13. Thanks for your comment, Mariann. My point was that the audience you addressed has not only been digitally savvy for quite a few years, but also well aware of how their online behaviour is part of that social shaping. Your presentation would probably have been better suited to a different audience – for those of us at TEDx, you weren’t really telling us anything we didn’t already know and it was a lost opportunity to give us something new we could ponder, which is the point of TED, after all.

  14. julianlstar

    One of the difficulties with programming events such as this as with any ‘future thinking’ conference is where do you pitch it. If it’s too far down one particular path you loose some but please the others. With running a TEDx event you don’t get the resource that you would have with a larger conference, it is free events and so it can’t cover it’s costs. Speakers and crew generally do it for free and they get coffee and a biscuit if they are lucky.

    Running events at the BBC can also throw up problems. Especially as there are people who just can’t see beyond ‘it’s at the BBC therefore it is the BBC’ which denigrates the contribution of all those involved with the event . TEDxManchester was a partnership between Codeworks and FutureEverything and BBC.

    From running the Manchester Social Media Cafe there, you do get a slightly different audience than if the event is run in a non BBC venue – . I also wonder whether TEDx would of been so popular (320 by my count) if it wasn’t held at the BBC?

    Personally I think with this type of event the knowledge held in the audience collectively, is in excess of the knowledge held on the stage and I agree that a more consensual approach, such as unConference/barcamp/openLab is a more satisfying way of engagement – although that approach is not without its own set of challenges.
    So if there is another TEDx in Manchester perhaps it should be crowdsourced rather than co-curated.

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  16. Hi Louise,

    Thanks for writing a smashin’ summary of the TEDx Manchester event.

    It’s excellent to see all the comments and discussion here on your blog, online, and in conversations between all kinds of people.

    Soz for statin’ the bleedin’ obvious but there are so many rapid changes sweeping our planet, so many pressing issues and concerns.

    We have an opportunity like never before to come together through global digital technology and talk about meaningful and important things, about ideas that can start movements, create action, and change the world.

    It seems to me people are enjoying the relatively new and growing sense of connectedness, and though mediated mostly through technology, I think events like TEDx show that people love meeting together face to face.

    The opportunity for more and more folk to access powerful content creation tools, tell their stories, form communities, and get stuff done, will change almost everything. The internet’s only been around for five minutes and we’re just at the beginning of these changes.

    Social media is not a little bit of drizzle, it’s more a growing storm that’s picking up momentum and impacting everything it touches, and it will touch everything, to some degree or other.

    Exclusive, mainstream media organisations that have traditionally suppressed talent, ideas, and opportunity for a broad range of people, in favour of keeping a tiny number in cosy positions as cultural gatekeepers, wont survive. It is irrelevant whether they “get it” or not, they simply won’t be around in their current form in the near future.

    So, through our potential new connectedness, much of the stuff we can do together doesn’t require big budgets or fancy tech, but it does require an openness to discovering what gives us true value, and a sense of meaning.

    What I’d like to see, and I want to work with all kinds of people who want the same, is all sorts of human interaction, tech enabled or face to face, including conferences like TEDx, beginning to focus on the big questions of meaning and purpose.

    What kind of world do we want to help create for ourselves and our kids? I think we need to ask how these amazing tools can help us work out better ways for humans to live together in the world, in relation to each other, our planet, and beyond.

    What’s great about TED Global (and what could be for TEDx too) is its willingness to allow space for these big, scary issues, as well as celebrating those with a worthwhile contribution to make.

    We can do that too.

    Much love,



  17. Hugh Garry

    Hi Louise. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. Had a busy day. Great to see TEDx inspiring conversation via your blog. First off let me talk a little bit about my role. As a producer in charge of creative projects there is an element of research and development to what I do. I like to experiment with new ways of thinking then share the learnings with the rest of my department, the entire BBC or the numerous non-BBC people that invite me to talk to them. Personally I never measure the success of what I do by page impressions, video views or awards but by the number of people I speak to about my projects afterwards. I see that as the real public service side to what I do. I’m always keen to share my learnings and like at TEDx will talk at a moment’s notice such is the value I put on that part of my role.

    Secondly, it’s important to understand that I am employed by BBC Audio and Music Interactive. The money that funds my projects comes from money set aside for digital projects to support radio and not making radio (in the traditional sense of radio that is). If I didn’t make Shoot The Summer the money would have been spent on another digital project and not programme making.

    The question of ‘Why ‘radio’ is making ‘video’?’ is something that comes up a lot. I’ve been ‘visualising radio’ since 1997 when I made some films from Glastonbury for Radio 1. At the time it seemed like the most stupid idea ever to most of our producers. My case wasn’t helped when I would show them the results of my work… a frame every 5 seconds over a dial up was painful viewing. It was more like watching a slideshow than a video. Inevitably I would be asked ‘Why are we making video for radio?’ to which I’d inform them that one day computers would be owned by people who aren’t geeks, dial-up would be replaced by big fat pipes going into the home and watching video on your computer would be just like watching TV. How they laughed and chose to ignore me for the next 5 years or so.

    When asked that question now the response is somewhat different given that broadband, youtube and the iplayer are pretty much a big part of the lives of those asking. Visualising radio is more important than ever when you consider how young people are listening to radio. The first thing to consider is the fact that the FM radio my generation were brought up with plays a very small role in how young people listen to radio. Online, mobile, digital TV or DAB are the popular choices – all of which come with a screen. Younger people who have been brought up listening via these devices have come to expect visual elements to their radio. The Radio 1 audience expect it more than most given that we’ve been making videos since Glasto 12 years ago.

    There is a bigger discussion around what is broadcast that Matthew dealt with in his talk. My children consumed many hours of ‘radio’ from Radio 1’s Big Weekend via the videos we uploaded to Youtube filmed at the event. They never went near an FM radio, mobile phone, DAB radio or digital TV. Youtube is becoming the default radio/music player for many young people with the ‘recommended videos’ feature becoming their dial so we need to be on that dial. It’s hugely important for Radio 1 and the BBC to keep talking to young people which demands us taking content to them in the spaces that they hang out and in the format that they demand.

    In response to “I really struggle to see how Hugh Garry can justify spending “our” money on his film”… there must be some confusion over my position. I’m an employee of the BBC. I’m paid to work on creative projects for the audience to enjoy. I’m not sure how the film is ‘mine’. Shoot The Summer represented an incredible value for money for the BBC. It cost such a small amount of money to make yet provided interactive content for different networks. It fed into Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and The Proms, 6Music, Asian Network, 1Xtra and BBC Introducing. It was multiplatform in that it provided content for online and mobile as well as being screened at the Electric Proms Shirt Film Festival. It pulled together content from all over the UK including Cambridge Folk Festival (Cambridge), Nottinghill Carnival (London), Bestival (Isle of White), Proms in the Park (Glasgow), Summer Sundae (Leicester) and London Mela introducing fans of spoken word to folk to classical to hip hop to desi beats. In the 13 years I’ve been at the BBC I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project that represented such value for money.

    In response to “The BBC is certainly going to need to find a way to collaborate better with us folk who help fund it”, I think Shoot The Summer was a brilliant collaborative project and yes I’d love to see more, a point I made only last week in Arial, the BBC’s in house magazine.

    Finally, in defense of Dr Mariann Hardey and the organisers, it’s very difficult to know how to pitch your talk without prior knowledge of what audience to expect. There have been times when I’ve lost a crowd within seconds and times when they’ve gained nothing from my talks. Sometimes I think that being able to see people’s tweets as you talk may help adjust mid-talk. Having said that tweets from the audience about being distracted by my trousers (as happened on Friday) would have thrown me completely… so perhaps not.

  18. Radio making video – isn’t that the future? The BBC might even think about redefining its self as a platform that creates all kinds of content rather than ‘TV or ‘Radio’

    Hugh was the most forward thinking talker of the day and is one of the reasons I do still have hope in the BBC.

  19. @Ian I totally agree that the face-to-face aspect is important for many attendees. For me, while listening/watching the presentations gives me lots of ideas to chew over, I get at least as much out of meeting people – either hanging out with people I already know or be introduced to new acquaintances and I get a real buzz, too, out of meeting people I only “know” through Twitter! “Ah, so you’re *@xxx!” However important technology is to our lives, it’s no substitute for the human connection. And let’s not forget that ideas come from people, not software. I agree with your other big points too about needing to be open and to share away from the big institutions.

    @Hugh thank you so very much for your wonderfully lengthy and very enlightening explanation about why radio does video. The penny has dropped for me. I love radio but my favourite stations (Radios 2 and 4) are less innovative when it comes to mixing it up. That’s fine up to a point. I hate knowing what the Archers actors look like, for example, because the joy of radio is creating a world in your head and of course I know exactly what all the inhabitants of Ambridge “look like”! I did love the film you showed, even that short clip, and I have the impression everyone else did. Certainly it was the talk of the pub afterwards! Thank you so much for clarifying everything about what you do and why. I hope you’ll return to Manchester and show us more of your stuff before too long.

  20. Hugh Garry

    @louise Completely agree regarding treading carefully around what we visualise. It’s really important not to mess with the ‘theater of the mind’ element of some shows. Ambridge is sacred!!! Really looking forward to speaking again in my hometown soon.

    @rebeccawho Thanks for the lovely comments and glad you enjoyed it.

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  22. Wow, what a great discussion, sad to have missed it.

    Sorry you thought some of the Futuresonic (now FutureEverything) speakers fell flat Louise, I can promise you there is no shortage of love, passion and diligence that goes in to programming the event.


  23. Thanks for your comments, Drew. Actually I think just two speakers who didn’t quite cut it at FuturSonic over two very packed and interesting days was pretty good going. Manchester is such a geeky place that Boyd and O’Connor simply underestimated the knowledge level and expectations of their audience. And anyone curating such a fantastically ambitious programme as FuturSonic is always going to have weigh up a speaker’s presentation against its likely reception. I loved FS overall and am looking forward to FE next year!

  24. Feedback from TEDxManchester’s audience…

    TEDxManchester audience Like most events we recieve a lot of feedback about what we have done and how to improve what we have done. Here’s a cut of some of the more outspoken comments… Was there a slant towards digital innovation/creativity…

    This comment was originally posted on Sarah Hartley

  25. Feedback from TEDxManchester’s audience…TEDxManchester audience Like most events we recieve a lot of feedback about what we have done and how to improve what we have done. Here’s a cut of some of the more outspoken comments… Was there a slant towards digital innovation/creativity…

    This comment was originally posted on Sarah Hartley

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