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SXSW Interactive Day 3: Mark Zuckerberg, Sarah Lacy vs. Backchanneled geeks

(Photo from MichielB)

If you weren’t there, you missed it. But luckily hundreds of geeks were there to document today’s SXSW meltdown.

Nathan Wright at Lava Row has a good recap of what happened during today’s SXSWi Keynote by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg:

Today during the Mark Zuckerberg keynote at SXSW, a compelling thing happened. Zuckerberg was interviewed by author Sarah Lacy, who scored zero popularity points with the crowd. While she was frequently interjecting personal antecdotes, plugs for her soon-to-be-released book, twirling her hair and overall conducting a bad interview, all sorts of chatter and criticism was happening among audience members via various back channels such as .

The silently-brewing revolt finally came to a head when Lacy mentioned the a second time in response to Zuckerberg answering only with one-word responses, and Zuckerberg finally put her in her place by saying: “You have to ask questions.” A jubilant, overjoyed cheer erupted from us – an audience of thousands of angry monkeys who were jilted out of a decent keynote conversation.


Lacy didn’t do her homework on the audience. This is a geek/designer/creative audience. Not one focused on business

She is totally getting defensive now, really poor empathy for the audience.

Jeff Jarvis says:

Twitter talk is negative, especially on Lacy.

The crowd’s frustration finally comes out at the end when Zuckerberg tells Lacy, who goes on and on about him writing in Moleskines, that she should ask a question. He gets an ovation. She goes off on some odd rant about how he burns them and when he says he doesn’t and that she’s making that up (he’s saying it nicely) someone in the audience tells her to ask something interesting. She gets pouty saying that we don’t know how tough her job is. Jeesh. Someone at a microphone mocks her and she gets sensitive. She says someone should send her a message telling her what she did wrong. All she has to do is read the blogs.

The chatter in Twitter wonders who’d do a better job interviewing him.

It’s yet another example of backchannels feeding what I’m calling “geek audience revolt” when a forum doesn’t meet their expectation.

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