Audience of Twittering Assholes

UPDATE: I just spent an hour talking with Sarah Lacy and apologized directly to her, and then we had an interesting talk about the industry, sexism, her interview and why she took the line of questioning that she did, and her perspective. I highly recommend you read Brian Solis’ post following up on this interview, because it gives her perspective and matched what I learned from her (that the SXSW conference planners wanted her not to take audience questions, wanted her to take the interview in a more business-centric direction because Facebook had a separate developer-centric event at SXSW, etc). Anyway, there’s lots of lessons here for everyone involved. Me, audience, Sarah, conference planners, etc. Dave Winer and I discussed it on a podcast this morning too.

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When I arrived 15-minutes into the now famous interview of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, by BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy the audience had already turned (it was two days ago and it still is the #1 topic of conversation on blogs and at SXSW, which is the conference that this happened at). Usually I try to get to these things early, and sit up front, but I had other interviews and things going on and I’d already been warned that there wouldn’t be any real news at this event. Facebook is working on some major new features, but they simply aren’t ready to show off in public. I’m already hearing rumors of another F8 event (last year’s event, where Facebook first showed off its application platform, seems like it was 10 years ago, which tells us a little bit about how our expectations for instant gratification are increasing).

I arrived in the overflow room because I already knew from watching Twitter that the main hall was packed. When I walked in I met people leaving already and I could tell they weren’t leaving to go to the bathroom. They were leaving in protest. My friend Francine Hardaway wrote later that she walked out in disgust. Susan Bratton was so disappointed that she wrote four blog posts about it.

I found a seat and asked the guy next to me how it was going. “Not well, it’s really boring,” was the answer.

I listened for a few more minutes and watched the audience reaction and realized that it wasn’t just boring but that the audience was building up hostility toward what was going on at the video screen.

But let’s back up. I refrained from blogging about this because I then became part of the story, due to my Twitter stream. Here, let’s look at that now:

12:43 p.m. March 9: Zuckerberg is giving lots of PR answers. Lacy is asking too many business questions. (this is about 45 minutes into the interview, if I remember right).

12:47: lacy needs to study guy Kawasaki. His interview of ballmer was 1000 times better

12:53: Twitterer’s hate Lacy.

12:58: Sarah Lacy lost control of the interview because she just isn’t very good. Twitter is going crazy with critiques.

01:00: @markwallace Lacy didn’t do her homework on the audience. This is a geek/designer/creative audience. Not one focused on business.

01:01: They want to hear about APIs and platforms and what Facebook is going to do.

01:01: She is totally getting defensive now, really poor empathy for the audience.

01:02: The audience as getting outright hostile toward Lacy and she basically asked audience to send her a message about why she sucked.

01:04: The audience is asking Zuckerburg better questions than Lacy did. Totally agree with @heiko.

01:06: @techcrunch I know Zuckerberg is no easy interview. But yours was far far far better than Sarah’s.

01:07: @techcrunch she totally lost control of the interview and had no clue how she was coming across. Still doesn’t “I thought it was going well.

And on it went. Onstage it went worse. Audience members had taken over the interview and Lacy made things worse by trying to argue with them about how well the interview was going. The audience had decided that it wasn’t going well. Later Lacy rubbed it in, by Twittering: “seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things.” She also went on YouTube to try to explain what happened to her from her perspective.

We had turned into assholes. It wasn’t just the back of the room, either. Nor was it just the overflow room. People in the front of the room were yelling out questions. The entire audience erupted for a 26-second applause line when Zuckerberg asked Lacy to ask questions (which confused Lacy, because she was unaware that the audience had been turning against her).

The audience turned into assholes was the conclusion of Mike Arrington, founder of Tech Crunch, who, wrote a post, saying this was nothing more than a witch burning.

Some other analysis: Jemima Kiss in the Guardian’s blogs: The peculiar Mark Zuckerberg keynote interview.

College professor and famous blogger, Jeff Jarvis, had the most accurate early analysis that I could find in a post titled: Zuckerberg interview: What went wrong.

Brian Solis spent five hours with Lacy after the interview and did a bunch more reporting before writing a very long, but most excellent, analysis of the events. He also explains why Sarah Lacy was the interviewer, and gives many details about the friendship between Zuckerberg and Lacy.

My thoughts?

1. This interview was doomed before it happened. Several of my friends didn’t go because they already knew there wouldn’t be any news. After all, if there was going to be news, Kara Swisher would have reported it and she would have been invited to have been there. We also knew that Zuckerberg probably would be boring (he reminds us of Bill Gates who, despite giving speeches for 30 years, is still boring). The expectations on Zuckerberg are so high now, that he’d have to do something like Ballmer’s Monkey Boy dance to meet them.

2. The muttering continues, even last night. In fact, one woman, who I won’t name here, is going to moderate a panel discussion today and she told me “I hope I don’t pull a Lacy.” Overall, now that the emotion is out of it for the most part, people are still saying this was an interview gone bad and are disappointed that Lacy lashed out at the audience instead of trying to figure out what they wanted.

3. Zuckerberg himself, yesterday, realized that he didn’t answer the questions the audience wanted to have answered, so he did a “redo” of the interview, this time with just him in front of an audience. The consensus there is that this one went much better for both Zuckerberg and the audience.

4. There is quite a bit of sexism that is a subtext here. Lots of people in the hallways commented on her choice of clothing (she wore a short skirt that made her legs very prominently displayed). And on n her flirtatious behavior (she twirled her hair, many people told me afterward, like a schoolgirl in love). I tried to ignore this, but I now am pretty sure that if a guy were doing the interview, and did just as badly, that the audience wouldn’t have turned on him so harshly. This was amplified by her constant bringing up of personal situations (she bragged that she was hanging out with Zuckerberg at a party the night before).

5. Several people last night thought this was great PR for Lacy, noting that her book sales had gone up, and that now everyone knew who she was and, even, felt a little bad for her, so that’ll lead to increased attention next time she does an interview. I sort of agree with that analysis, noting that I’ve had a bad time on stage, too (at LeWeb several years ago our keynote was generally panned and the audience got a little hostile toward us there too — that didn’t stop me from being asked to do more speeches, and, in fact, made me a better speaker).

6. Zuckerberg himself is a very tough interview. Why? Cause Zuckerberg is no Gary Vaynerchuk or Guy Kawasaki. In fact, Zuckerberg is a geek who is far more comfortable talking about memcache or architectures than he is in answering questions for the press, or being in front of audiences (although I thought he stepped up his game in yesterday’s Q&A quite a bit). He reminds me a LOT of Bill Gates. I remember meeting Bill Gates at a conference party in the mid-1990s and couldn’t get him to be social, but when I switched to talking to him about compilers he got very passionate and went on for 20 minutes about the topic. Same with Zuckerberg. He really isn’t that comfortable talking about his business, or other things, but when you start digging into him technically he comes alive.

7. Zuckerberg is also a tough interview cause he gives PR answers. Now we know one other guy who does that: Steve Ballmer. But notice how Guy Kawasaki gets Ballmer to knock it off in this video of their interview on stage at Microsoft’s Mix08 conference: he calls Ballmer on the bullshit. Compare this interview to the one that Lacy did, and you’ll see how to do an interview with a CEO well, and poorly.

8. This wasn’t the only audience revolt at SXSW this year.

9. The audience at SXSW is quite unlike any other. These are people who blog and Twitter and Facebook and Meebo and use tons of other social networking tools. They also are snarky and are used to being heard (egotistical, even, just like your friendly local blogger). So, when they are in audiences here they expect to be part of the event. Most speakers here know this, and take advantage of the interactive demands (I was watching Twitter and videoing my own panel yesterday, so I knew when our panel was getting boring, or wasn’t on track with what the audience wanted). Most speakers here take the pulse of the audience often and early, going to questions and such. I wouldn’t speak here if you haven’t attended before. Also, this is not a business audience. Most of us really don’t care whether Zuckerberg is worth $1 or $15 billion. We want to know what Facebook’s developer platform is going to do. Or how Facebook is going to give us more control over our privacy. Or, how Facebook is going to make our data portable (I asked Zuckerberg about my getting kicked off of Facebook yesterday in his QA session and several attendees came up to me afterward saying they were happy someone finally asked Zuckerberg about that).

10. I’m going to try to interview Sarah Lacy, and I’ll apologize for my part in being an audience asshole, but I’ll also explain to her why I’d do it again. I hate being captive in an audience when the people on stage don’t have a feedback loop going with the audience. We’re used to living a two-way life online and expect it when in an audience too. Our expectations of speakers and people on stage have changed, for better or for worse.

Anyway, I’m sure we could continue discussing this for a long time, but I have to prepare for another panel discussion this afternoon that I was added to (come and heckle me, er, be an audience asshole!) Right after that panel we’ll go for BBQ with about 100 people. I hope Sarah comes along, we’ll break bread. Either way, we can fit about 120 people in, so meet us there. Afterward we’ll go to the RockBand party (wait until you see the video I participated in!) and then onto the Digg party.

Comments

  1. I’m glad you saw the sexism in this. I don’t think the reaction would have been so vicious had the interviewer been a man. I can think of at least a handful of women who’ve been ‘witch hunted’ in the past year or two.

    It’s not big and it certainly isn’t clever.

    I’ve been to plenty of boring-assed panels, interviews and talks at conferences. The reaction to this was insane.

    I wasn’t there, but I’d guess that she just misjudged what the audience wanted. No biggie.

  2. which ever way it went, whichever party was wrong, i still feel sorry for this girl. no need to burn anyone. it just isn’t professional. seriously seems like a typical digg submission, only, without a computer screen. there’s better ways to handle this type of situation. also, if you knew it would be disastrous, why didn’t anyone else know? my half cent…

  3. which ever way it went, whichever party was wrong, i still feel sorry for this girl. no need to burn anyone. it just isn’t professional. seriously seems like a typical digg submission, only, without a computer screen. there’s better ways to handle this type of situation. also, if you knew it would be disastrous, why didn’t anyone else know? my half cent…

  4. I’m glad you saw the sexism in this. I don’t think the reaction would have been so vicious had the interviewer been a man. I can think of at least a handful of women who’ve been ‘witch hunted’ in the past year or two.

    It’s not big and it certainly isn’t clever.

    I’ve been to plenty of boring-assed panels, interviews and talks at conferences. The reaction to this was insane.

    I wasn’t there, but I’d guess that she just misjudged what the audience wanted. No biggie.

  5. Unlike the traditional press and media, what bloggers and twitters don’t understand is to never to become the story. Bloggers/twitters desire to become the story and overshadow everything else, and Robert, you are one of the worst offenders. I have not read one thing that was said on stage of the interview which is truly disappointing and every blogger/twitter should be ashamed. And you wonder why bloggers get no respect. You have become the business version of paparazzi!

  6. Grrrrr! I’m missing on all the fun. Well, this wouldn’t have happened if I had gotten invited. People know I am wont to call everybody on their bullshit :) Unfortunately, I am not known for tech but for politics … heh.

  7. Grrrrr! I’m missing on all the fun. Well, this wouldn’t have happened if I had gotten invited. People know I am wont to call everybody on their bullshit :) Unfortunately, I am not known for tech but for politics … heh.

  8. Unlike the traditional press and media, what bloggers and twitters don’t understand is to never to become the story. Bloggers/twitters desire to become the story and overshadow everything else, and Robert, you are one of the worst offenders. I have not read one thing that was said on stage of the interview which is truly disappointing and every blogger/twitter should be ashamed. And you wonder why bloggers get no respect. You have become the business version of paparazzi!

  9. Jason Corsello: what you’re missing is that most people in the audience were NOT blogging or Twittering (there were thousands in the audience here). But the reaction in the hallways to this interview is quite consistent and quite harsh. My analysis here is much nicer than most people in the hallways are.

  10. Jason Corsello: what you’re missing is that most people in the audience were NOT blogging or Twittering (there were thousands in the audience here). But the reaction in the hallways to this interview is quite consistent and quite harsh. My analysis here is much nicer than most people in the hallways are.

  11. Nice post and Good of you break bread with Lacy – Although no doubt we still need to keep with fire burning under all moderators who don’t realize the game has changed.

    This must have been like an early Star Trek convention Geek Feast. It’s hard to blame Shatner(Zuckerberg)that his fans are more obsessed with him and what he’s doing than he himself is.
    And Lacy, well she never had a chance – better to have just opened it up early on.

    Alas, sxsw seems to be latest nexus of the grand social media experiment – where the ‘pundits and experts’ still don’t seem to understand the new dynamics when 2.0 influencers gather in real-world events.

    The number one rule in any forum is know your audience – and in the land of immediacy with live twittering – moderators need to take into account the reaction of their audience – real and virtual. Going off the script can be the most genuine and respectful thing you can do – when your audience wants your talk to take a different direction.

    As is too often the case – too many people are talking and not truly listening.

    If you can see – Look.
    If you can look – Observe.
    If you can observe – React.

  12. Very well put, Robert. It seems as though yours is the only level-head left in this whole situation. I still find it odd, the speed and passion with which Michael Arrington jumped to Sarah Lacey’s defense. As I posted over on TechCrunch….what is his stake in all this?

  13. Nice post and Good of you break bread with Lacy – Although no doubt we still need to keep with fire burning under all moderators who don’t realize the game has changed.

    This must have been like an early Star Trek convention Geek Feast. It’s hard to blame Shatner(Zuckerberg)that his fans are more obsessed with him and what he’s doing than he himself is.
    And Lacy, well she never had a chance – better to have just opened it up early on.

    Alas, sxsw seems to be latest nexus of the grand social media experiment – where the ‘pundits and experts’ still don’t seem to understand the new dynamics when 2.0 influencers gather in real-world events.

    The number one rule in any forum is know your audience – and in the land of immediacy with live twittering – moderators need to take into account the reaction of their audience – real and virtual. Going off the script can be the most genuine and respectful thing you can do – when your audience wants your talk to take a different direction.

    As is too often the case – too many people are talking and not truly listening.

    If you can see – Look.
    If you can look – Observe.
    If you can observe – React.

  14. Very well put, Robert. It seems as though yours is the only level-head left in this whole situation. I still find it odd, the speed and passion with which Michael Arrington jumped to Sarah Lacey’s defense. As I posted over on TechCrunch….what is his stake in all this?

  15. >Jansie Blom — we knew it was going to be boring, we didn’t know it would turn into audience revolt. Many of my friends or people I know didn’t go for that reason. Others, instead of being assholes toward the speaker, just walked out. Me? I Twittered what I was seeing and experiencing and gave my own emotions.

  16. >Jansie Blom — we knew it was going to be boring, we didn’t know it would turn into audience revolt. Many of my friends or people I know didn’t go for that reason. Others, instead of being assholes toward the speaker, just walked out. Me? I Twittered what I was seeing and experiencing and gave my own emotions.

  17. Why hasn’t anyone taken the conference organizers to task? These are the individuals who should be getting flogged the hardest.

    If Lacy is as inexperienced as she appeared to be and Zuckerberg is such a tough interview and historically he has been then the conference organizers failed to on their largest stage the keynote address of their very own conference.

    As far as the first comment from GIA, it wasn’t just another panel, it was the keynote address for the entire conference, so it is a big deal.

  18. Why hasn’t anyone taken the conference organizers to task? These are the individuals who should be getting flogged the hardest.

    If Lacy is as inexperienced as she appeared to be and Zuckerberg is such a tough interview and historically he has been then the conference organizers failed to on their largest stage the keynote address of their very own conference.

    As far as the first comment from GIA, it wasn’t just another panel, it was the keynote address for the entire conference, so it is a big deal.

  19. Great points you make. I wasn’t at SXSW but I saw the video of the interview on the AllFacebook website and I was kind of baffled about the “types” of questions that were being asked. I’m in marketing so some of those would relate, but you’re right that the audience needed to hear more about what related to them as opposed to Sarah Lacy reporting from a journalist standpoint. She wanted to make it more newsworthy than it probably was and talked about what you’d see on the ABC Nightly News or even on CNN.

    I think that it’s the audience’s responsibility to voice their disagreement if such a highly anticipated event tanks as soon as it begins (approx. 15 minutes in it, according to what I read from your blog). If you’re paying big bucks to attend, you might as well get your money’s worth. I would say it’s equivalent to paying money for a cruise, but having the ship stay docked in the same port for 7 days. Where’s the value? Thanks for your insights!

  20. Great points you make. I wasn’t at SXSW but I saw the video of the interview on the AllFacebook website and I was kind of baffled about the “types” of questions that were being asked. I’m in marketing so some of those would relate, but you’re right that the audience needed to hear more about what related to them as opposed to Sarah Lacy reporting from a journalist standpoint. She wanted to make it more newsworthy than it probably was and talked about what you’d see on the ABC Nightly News or even on CNN.

    I think that it’s the audience’s responsibility to voice their disagreement if such a highly anticipated event tanks as soon as it begins (approx. 15 minutes in it, according to what I read from your blog). If you’re paying big bucks to attend, you might as well get your money’s worth. I would say it’s equivalent to paying money for a cruise, but having the ship stay docked in the same port for 7 days. Where’s the value? Thanks for your insights!

  21. I actually have to agree with Jason Corsello to a certain extent. Blogging started out with the aim of democratising the media. There are other voices which need to be heard other than those in traditional media.

    What it’s become is a bunch of sniping, bitter, negative, twisted, buffoons who think that their opinion actually matters… and in some cases they think it matters more than *facts*. It’s sad… and I’m finding it more and more difficult to defend the internet to the people I work with in traditional media.

  22. I actually have to agree with Jason Corsello to a certain extent. Blogging started out with the aim of democratising the media. There are other voices which need to be heard other than those in traditional media.

    What it’s become is a bunch of sniping, bitter, negative, twisted, buffoons who think that their opinion actually matters… and in some cases they think it matters more than *facts*. It’s sad… and I’m finding it more and more difficult to defend the internet to the people I work with in traditional media.

  23. Overall, I think the question is: How can conference organizers better enter conversations with the backchannels? Should the panelists be made more aware of it? Overall, I think the audience IS asserting more control, as @jowyang suggested. How does this change the conference arena?

  24. Overall, I think the question is: How can conference organizers better enter conversations with the backchannels? Should the panelists be made more aware of it? Overall, I think the audience IS asserting more control, as @jowyang suggested. How does this change the conference arena?

  25. You and Sarah have a conflict of interpretations. She says it was a successful interview, and that “we broke news.” (In her post-event comments to the Austin newspaper on YouTube.) You said it was not successful and there was no news. If you talk to her, ask her about that. She also said she “gets this all the time” (suggesting the audience reaction is par for the course, not even noteworthy, really.)

    I don’t find any of those statements credible, but I wasn’t there. You were. Maybe you can she some light.

  26. You and Sarah have a conflict of interpretations. She says it was a successful interview, and that “we broke news.” (In her post-event comments to the Austin newspaper on YouTube.) You said it was not successful and there was no news. If you talk to her, ask her about that. She also said she “gets this all the time” (suggesting the audience reaction is par for the course, not even noteworthy, really.)

    I don’t find any of those statements credible, but I wasn’t there. You were. Maybe you can she some light.

  27. Roderick, ahhh, the keynote. Well… still… I was at TED the other week. If Geldof – who was, I guess, the keynote speaker- had bombed terribly (was unprepared and the like), do you think there’d have been a riot at TED? Of course not. He’d just not have got a very big round of applause. (though interestingly Lisa Randell’s misjudged at at TED two years ago was still being spoken about…)

    What happened at SXSW was just bad behaviour plain and simple.

  28. Roderick, ahhh, the keynote. Well… still… I was at TED the other week. If Geldof – who was, I guess, the keynote speaker- had bombed terribly (was unprepared and the like), do you think there’d have been a riot at TED? Of course not. He’d just not have got a very big round of applause. (though interestingly Lisa Randell’s misjudged at at TED two years ago was still being spoken about…)

    What happened at SXSW was just bad behaviour plain and simple.

  29. Robert –

    This is a fair analysis of the events. It was boring and off track from the start. Instead of blaming the audience, she should have owned up not having been prepared for what the crowd wanted to hear from Mr. Zuckerberg.

    She has said publically that it was all going well for 50 minutes and then some people in the back turned on her in the end…but you are correct, early on it was just a horrible interview….and I have not talked to anyone who was on the edge of their seat enjoying the keynote.

    The pressure is higher when you are the headliner.

    I was taking some notes and my notes have side-bars that read (from the top of the page): “boring”, “really, did he say that?”, “the hair twirling needs to stop” and “wow, how many times can she mention her book during his keynote?”.

    It was an opportunity lost for Zuckerberg, Lacy and the audience. But that is life.

  30. Robert –

    This is a fair analysis of the events. It was boring and off track from the start. Instead of blaming the audience, she should have owned up not having been prepared for what the crowd wanted to hear from Mr. Zuckerberg.

    She has said publically that it was all going well for 50 minutes and then some people in the back turned on her in the end…but you are correct, early on it was just a horrible interview….and I have not talked to anyone who was on the edge of their seat enjoying the keynote.

    The pressure is higher when you are the headliner.

    I was taking some notes and my notes have side-bars that read (from the top of the page): “boring”, “really, did he say that?”, “the hair twirling needs to stop” and “wow, how many times can she mention her book during his keynote?”.

    It was an opportunity lost for Zuckerberg, Lacy and the audience. But that is life.

  31. GIA,

    I am not justifying the behaviour of the audience, as I said in my comment, I think the organizers of SXSW should be in the cross hairs of the audience, because at the end of the day they are the ones that failed to address their keynote address with an exerpienced interviewer.

    I addressed your comment directly because you blew it off so flipantly. It was a big deal it wasn’t just another ho hum panel.

  32. GIA,

    I am not justifying the behaviour of the audience, as I said in my comment, I think the organizers of SXSW should be in the cross hairs of the audience, because at the end of the day they are the ones that failed to address their keynote address with an exerpienced interviewer.

    I addressed your comment directly because you blew it off so flipantly. It was a big deal it wasn’t just another ho hum panel.

  33. There is no question that some of the audience members could use better manners. Furthermore, I find it amusing that some of the attendees felt their time was wasted, and yet they spent more of their “valuable” time twittering, blogging, and participating in this industry flog session.

    While I do think Lacy was treated unfairly, there is a reason. Near the beginning she made the mistake of recounting one of her first interviews with Zuckerberg when he was sweating in his t-shirt. She was attempting to be funny and somehow create a greater sense of credibility with the crowd. Instead, it came off as demeaning as if she were trying to exert herself over him. Bad idea.

    There is no doubt that it was a challenging and male-centric audience, but an interviewer should always be sensitive to that audience and the interviewee. Either way, no big deal – move on.

  34. There is no question that some of the audience members could use better manners. Furthermore, I find it amusing that some of the attendees felt their time was wasted, and yet they spent more of their “valuable” time twittering, blogging, and participating in this industry flog session.

    While I do think Lacy was treated unfairly, there is a reason. Near the beginning she made the mistake of recounting one of her first interviews with Zuckerberg when he was sweating in his t-shirt. She was attempting to be funny and somehow create a greater sense of credibility with the crowd. Instead, it came off as demeaning as if she were trying to exert herself over him. Bad idea.

    There is no doubt that it was a challenging and male-centric audience, but an interviewer should always be sensitive to that audience and the interviewee. Either way, no big deal – move on.

  35. Sexism? Misogyny more like.

    As I wrote in a comment in the analagous Techcrunch thread, the problem for the Twittering (and non-Twittering) Assholes is that the whole interview is now on the Web. Everyone can see Zuckerberg, Lacey and the audience.

    The truth is: the interview is simply not that bad; and in fact it compares rather favourably with previous Zuckerberg interviews (he’s a nice guy, but he’s inarticulate as a public speaker). It’s the audience that was at fault here. No manners… no class… and no-one cares what they think. Neither should they.

  36. Sexism? Misogyny more like.

    As I wrote in a comment in the analagous Techcrunch thread, the problem for the Twittering (and non-Twittering) Assholes is that the whole interview is now on the Web. Everyone can see Zuckerberg, Lacey and the audience.

    The truth is: the interview is simply not that bad; and in fact it compares rather favourably with previous Zuckerberg interviews (he’s a nice guy, but he’s inarticulate as a public speaker). It’s the audience that was at fault here. No manners… no class… and no-one cares what they think. Neither should they.

  37. Simon: I disagree that he’s inarticulate. Watch the newer Q&A from yesterday and you’ll see he does quite well.

    What I found most interesting is that some of the most sexist comments came from women themselves. Check out the end of this video, to see some of the hallway conversation: http://qik.com/video/34133

  38. Simon: I disagree that he’s inarticulate. Watch the newer Q&A from yesterday and you’ll see he does quite well.

    What I found most interesting is that some of the most sexist comments came from women themselves. Check out the end of this video, to see some of the hallway conversation: http://qik.com/video/34133

  39. Sorry, Simon, but that summation just doesn’t hold water.

    People and businesses spend a lot of money to be at SxSW. Travel, hotel, registration, etc. That makes them the CUSTOMER.

    I’ve (through gritting teeth) watched this interview several times. It’s nothing more than a smitten woman playing figurative footsie with her perceived Web 2.0 boy-toy. It’s a crap interview, and it’s the freaking KEYNOTE!

    A business blaming their “customer” for not liking a crap product is just plain wrong. It wouldn’t fly in a normal scenario, and it sure as hell doesn’t fly with a tech-savvy audience like the one at SxSW. The organizers, Facebook…whoever decided Sarah Lacey would be the right person for this job made a huge mistake. And someone with the supposed experience of Sarah Lacey should have known better than to get defensive with the crowd. This was a textbook case of FAIL.

  40. Sorry, Simon, but that summation just doesn’t hold water.

    People and businesses spend a lot of money to be at SxSW. Travel, hotel, registration, etc. That makes them the CUSTOMER.

    I’ve (through gritting teeth) watched this interview several times. It’s nothing more than a smitten woman playing figurative footsie with her perceived Web 2.0 boy-toy. It’s a crap interview, and it’s the freaking KEYNOTE!

    A business blaming their “customer” for not liking a crap product is just plain wrong. It wouldn’t fly in a normal scenario, and it sure as hell doesn’t fly with a tech-savvy audience like the one at SxSW. The organizers, Facebook…whoever decided Sarah Lacey would be the right person for this job made a huge mistake. And someone with the supposed experience of Sarah Lacey should have known better than to get defensive with the crowd. This was a textbook case of FAIL.

  41. I don’t see the sexism in it. If a guy had botched an interview with a woman and he spent the whole thing looking smitten and enamored with his subject, he’d have been given the same sort of treatment. Maybe worse.

    If you don’t want to be called out for acting like you have a school-girl (or school-boy) crush, don’t act like that. Hiding behind gender isn’t the way to solve the problem.

  42. I don’t see the sexism in it. If a guy had botched an interview with a woman and he spent the whole thing looking smitten and enamored with his subject, he’d have been given the same sort of treatment. Maybe worse.

    If you don’t want to be called out for acting like you have a school-girl (or school-boy) crush, don’t act like that. Hiding behind gender isn’t the way to solve the problem.

  43. Great piece and well thought out points. Personally, I’m fascinated in the cognitive science part of this social experiment. What we have here is a real time backchannel and/or feedback loop that is external and internal. Certainly this is only going to become more prevalent moving forward. I thought the commenter who noted that SXSW is “the latest nexus in the grand social media experiment” hit it on the head. The question is whether other, more traditional, forums will become more like this as twitter and other social media tools become more commonplace. Think back centuries ago when the printed word was left to “experts” and others who controlled historical accounts. Now everyone is writing about history in real time, for everyone to watch no matter where they are. Is this backchannel simply a fad occurrence or will it become mainstream? If the latter, it certainly signals a paradigm shift in the fabric of communication. It will be interesting to watch.

  44. If this is what passes for REALLY BIG NEWS on Twitter, I’m glad I don’t use it. Life’s too short for criticizing the mechanics of an interview. If nothing much was said, move on, don’t make World War III out of it. ;)

  45. Great piece and well thought out points. Personally, I’m fascinated in the cognitive science part of this social experiment. What we have here is a real time backchannel and/or feedback loop that is external and internal. Certainly this is only going to become more prevalent moving forward. I thought the commenter who noted that SXSW is “the latest nexus in the grand social media experiment” hit it on the head. The question is whether other, more traditional, forums will become more like this as twitter and other social media tools become more commonplace. Think back centuries ago when the printed word was left to “experts” and others who controlled historical accounts. Now everyone is writing about history in real time, for everyone to watch no matter where they are. Is this backchannel simply a fad occurrence or will it become mainstream? If the latter, it certainly signals a paradigm shift in the fabric of communication. It will be interesting to watch.

  46. If this is what passes for REALLY BIG NEWS on Twitter, I’m glad I don’t use it. Life’s too short for criticizing the mechanics of an interview. If nothing much was said, move on, don’t make World War III out of it. ;)

  47. The more I read about this year’s SXSW, the more it seems like a bunch of drunken frat boys on spring break.

  48. The more I read about this year’s SXSW, the more it seems like a bunch of drunken frat boys on spring break.

  49. Robert, you’re right – “inarticulate” is the wrong word. The point I meant to make is that Mark doesn’t shine in public forums. He comes across as both shy and not confident enough to give direct answers to genuinely hard questions (which are usualy the business questions btw; tech questions are almost always trivially easy if you know what you’re talking about). Not surprising. He’s hardly experienced as a CEO yet. Contrast with Ballmer who really doesn’t care what he says, and is sometimes super-entertaining with it ;-)

    Re: the women “thing”. It seems that both men and women in the audience were incapable of understanding that Lacey had no intention of humiliating Zuckerberg; and I seriously doubt Zuckeberg felt humiliated. I thought it was quite obvious that Lacey was just trying to keep the interview light and fun; which as I understand it, was part of the brief from the organisers. Clearly, this didn’t work from the point of view of the audience. But really, no-one cares about people in audiences that are too dumb to have even picked up basic life-skills like good manners.

    Notwithstanding your point about women making negative comments, the truly mysogynistic comments and behaviour I’ve seen has all come from men. Occasionally even verging on the same level of treatment people seem enjoy dishing out to Julia Allison & Friends. The worst, of course, are anonymous cowards…

  50. Robert, you’re right – “inarticulate” is the wrong word. The point I meant to make is that Mark doesn’t shine in public forums. He comes across as both shy and not confident enough to give direct answers to genuinely hard questions (which are usualy the business questions btw; tech questions are almost always trivially easy if you know what you’re talking about). Not surprising. He’s hardly experienced as a CEO yet. Contrast with Ballmer who really doesn’t care what he says, and is sometimes super-entertaining with it ;-)

    Re: the women “thing”. It seems that both men and women in the audience were incapable of understanding that Lacey had no intention of humiliating Zuckerberg; and I seriously doubt Zuckeberg felt humiliated. I thought it was quite obvious that Lacey was just trying to keep the interview light and fun; which as I understand it, was part of the brief from the organisers. Clearly, this didn’t work from the point of view of the audience. But really, no-one cares about people in audiences that are too dumb to have even picked up basic life-skills like good manners.

    Notwithstanding your point about women making negative comments, the truly mysogynistic comments and behaviour I’ve seen has all come from men. Occasionally even verging on the same level of treatment people seem enjoy dishing out to Julia Allison & Friends. The worst, of course, are anonymous cowards…

  51. In my view of things as a teacher, the interview was just not engaging. In class, if students are not engaged and the topic is not relevant to what they need, then they act out because they are bored and feel they are wasting time. There can be discipline problems. The interview was not matched to the audience’s needs or profile; and that is the bottom line. I don’t care if the interviewer is a man or a woman. If it isn’t engaging, it isn’t engaging. But like Robert has pointed out. Not all is lost, this is a learning experience for all. I bet she will do her homework next time, and consider the environment beyond herself.

  52. In my view of things as a teacher, the interview was just not engaging. In class, if students are not engaged and the topic is not relevant to what they need, then they act out because they are bored and feel they are wasting time. There can be discipline problems. The interview was not matched to the audience’s needs or profile; and that is the bottom line. I don’t care if the interviewer is a man or a woman. If it isn’t engaging, it isn’t engaging. But like Robert has pointed out. Not all is lost, this is a learning experience for all. I bet she will do her homework next time, and consider the environment beyond herself.

  53. Gia,

    Amber MacArthur could have done this interview and nobody would have said a thing about it being a woman. I don’t buy the sexism card at all, even though there’s no doubt a huge component of that in many geek-oriented events.

    Watching the video is painful, as much because of Lacy’s obvious lack of preparation as anything. Three rules of speaking in public: 1) Know your audience, 2) Know your material, 3) Know your limitations. (In interviewing, understanding how the interviewee will respond on-stage is part of #2.) I’m not sure which of the three Lacy gets right in her regular job, but I scored this a solid 0-2-0 (on a 10-10-10 scale).

    Robert,

    I speak in public on a regular basis, and I have bombed before. Like the episode at LeWeb you referenced, this made me a better speaker.

    However, one of the key rules of bombing is that it’s not the audience’s fault that you bombed. That the audience is “Twittering Assholes” is irrelevant. The audience is what it is. If you choose to address an audience of “Twittering Assholes,” it behooves you to prepare for it. This post simply makes excuses for her lack of preparation and/or ability.

    Unfortunately, she’s likely to not learn from this experience. Instead, she’ll do what most do, and blame the audience. That’s the same thing that Michael Richards did in his infamous meltdown. Hecklers are a reality. The worst part of the reality is that they are (generally) an indication that you failed on one of the three rules of public speaking.

    Tim

  54. Gia,

    Amber MacArthur could have done this interview and nobody would have said a thing about it being a woman. I don’t buy the sexism card at all, even though there’s no doubt a huge component of that in many geek-oriented events.

    Watching the video is painful, as much because of Lacy’s obvious lack of preparation as anything. Three rules of speaking in public: 1) Know your audience, 2) Know your material, 3) Know your limitations. (In interviewing, understanding how the interviewee will respond on-stage is part of #2.) I’m not sure which of the three Lacy gets right in her regular job, but I scored this a solid 0-2-0 (on a 10-10-10 scale).

    Robert,

    I speak in public on a regular basis, and I have bombed before. Like the episode at LeWeb you referenced, this made me a better speaker.

    However, one of the key rules of bombing is that it’s not the audience’s fault that you bombed. That the audience is “Twittering Assholes” is irrelevant. The audience is what it is. If you choose to address an audience of “Twittering Assholes,” it behooves you to prepare for it. This post simply makes excuses for her lack of preparation and/or ability.

    Unfortunately, she’s likely to not learn from this experience. Instead, she’ll do what most do, and blame the audience. That’s the same thing that Michael Richards did in his infamous meltdown. Hecklers are a reality. The worst part of the reality is that they are (generally) an indication that you failed on one of the three rules of public speaking.

    Tim

  55. Robert,

    I commented on my blog, which I’m sure you’ll see. The short comment: if you don’t like a presentation, walk out of it. Don’t stay to heckle, and I’d give that advice to the entire audience. Not one of the people in the audience who had a problem stopped to consider whether anyone else might want to hear the interview.

    This isn’t complex stuff; it goes back to things you should have picked up in kindergarten.

  56. Robert,

    I commented on my blog, which I’m sure you’ll see. The short comment: if you don’t like a presentation, walk out of it. Don’t stay to heckle, and I’d give that advice to the entire audience. Not one of the people in the audience who had a problem stopped to consider whether anyone else might want to hear the interview.

    This isn’t complex stuff; it goes back to things you should have picked up in kindergarten.

  57. Robert, why does Mark Wallace get to say that this gal didn’t do her homework? She’s not behaving as an independent journalist here covering an interactive media conference event (SWSX) as a reporter.

    And her homework isn’t at issue when she is a HIRED GUN for this event.

    She is hired to do a *public relations performance*, Robert, not behaving as some critical journalist that one can say did a worse or better job of getting the news. Brian Solis explained this openly: she was HIRED by apparently Facebook and SWSX management jointly to put on this SHOW. The entire thing is choreographed. If these Twitterers are going to complain, they need to complain to *the managers of Facebook and SWSX who hired this person to put on this show*. And not that hired trained seal, frankly.

    The show was not entertaining enough to these spoiled kids. Then…let them, with their blogs, build up the reputation of a Business Week and the reputation of a Lacy, and get the Zuckerberg interview *shrugs*. Her best moments were when she behaved like a journalist, and not a PR performer.

    I think you are coddling them far too much by having to have the little sequestered geek corner later on with the Dev Garage, promising that the questions are going to be “better” than what Lacy came up with…but they aren’t.

    I’m amazed at this social geek demand that a journalist interviewing a subject has to “know your audience” — which is demanding not accountability from her as a reporter, but *performance*. She’s supposed to catch just the right geeky cultural nuances and be able to get Mark talking about memcache? What’s up with that?

    Are we learning a painful lesson here as to why old media kept the audience sequestered into filtered letters to the editor and op-ed pieces only. And that when the advertising office takes over the newsroom, this is the result.

  58. Robert, why does Mark Wallace get to say that this gal didn’t do her homework? She’s not behaving as an independent journalist here covering an interactive media conference event (SWSX) as a reporter.

    And her homework isn’t at issue when she is a HIRED GUN for this event.

    She is hired to do a *public relations performance*, Robert, not behaving as some critical journalist that one can say did a worse or better job of getting the news. Brian Solis explained this openly: she was HIRED by apparently Facebook and SWSX management jointly to put on this SHOW. The entire thing is choreographed. If these Twitterers are going to complain, they need to complain to *the managers of Facebook and SWSX who hired this person to put on this show*. And not that hired trained seal, frankly.

    The show was not entertaining enough to these spoiled kids. Then…let them, with their blogs, build up the reputation of a Business Week and the reputation of a Lacy, and get the Zuckerberg interview *shrugs*. Her best moments were when she behaved like a journalist, and not a PR performer.

    I think you are coddling them far too much by having to have the little sequestered geek corner later on with the Dev Garage, promising that the questions are going to be “better” than what Lacy came up with…but they aren’t.

    I’m amazed at this social geek demand that a journalist interviewing a subject has to “know your audience” — which is demanding not accountability from her as a reporter, but *performance*. She’s supposed to catch just the right geeky cultural nuances and be able to get Mark talking about memcache? What’s up with that?

    Are we learning a painful lesson here as to why old media kept the audience sequestered into filtered letters to the editor and op-ed pieces only. And that when the advertising office takes over the newsroom, this is the result.

  59. Tim, how many ‘boring’, ‘ill-prepared’, ‘misjudged’ ‘train wrecks’ have been helmed by men at tech/geek gatherings? (I can think of at least of few I’ve seen myself) How many of those have caused vast numbers of people to go crazy-insane? How many of those men are called up for their ‘stereotypically male behaviour’? How many of those ‘train wrecks’ have you heard about? Or when that happens do people just think,’Whoa, that was crap.’ and leave it at that?

    So, it wasn’t the best interview in the world. Whatever. It’s not genocide.

    I actually equate this kind of behaviour with the whole Kathy Sierra thing as well as the crap Maryam took from the Mean Kids. Nasty and misogynistic.

    I will say this (as someone who has worked on camera for many years) just because someone can write, doesn’t mean that they can do an interview, on stage, in front of an audience and be comfortable with it.

  60. Tim, how many ‘boring’, ‘ill-prepared’, ‘misjudged’ ‘train wrecks’ have been helmed by men at tech/geek gatherings? (I can think of at least of few I’ve seen myself) How many of those have caused vast numbers of people to go crazy-insane? How many of those men are called up for their ‘stereotypically male behaviour’? How many of those ‘train wrecks’ have you heard about? Or when that happens do people just think,’Whoa, that was crap.’ and leave it at that?

    So, it wasn’t the best interview in the world. Whatever. It’s not genocide.

    I actually equate this kind of behaviour with the whole Kathy Sierra thing as well as the crap Maryam took from the Mean Kids. Nasty and misogynistic.

    I will say this (as someone who has worked on camera for many years) just because someone can write, doesn’t mean that they can do an interview, on stage, in front of an audience and be comfortable with it.

  61. I wasn’t at SXSW but just watched the interview. This young lady broke two big rules of interviewing.

    The first is she obviously wasn’t prepared. Even if you want an interview to be “a conversation” as she puts it, you need to have a structure to it or it’s just not going to be interesting. She looked as if she was just sitting down to chit chat and aside from the first question she asked, there was no real structure or focus to her questioning. Next time, she needs to make a few notes ahead of time, and try to stay on topic.

    The second is, never interview your friends or family. You know too much on a personal level and that doesn’t translate well to an audience. Your conversation becomes filled with innuendo and inside jokes and frankly, nobody cares. The audience will tune out because they are not getting it.

    Mark is not the most charismatic guy in the world, and Facebook could definitely benefit from hiring a spokesperson to handle their media, however he is the main dude and a good interviewer can make anyone look articulate and interesting.

    Lacy’s comment about “try doing what I do for a living and you’ll see how hard it is” is kind of insulting. I do appreciate how hard it is to be an interviewer, I’ve been in the media business for 18 years, and I’m not alone. If she is the “professional” she claims to be, then she should probably work on her interviewing skills a bit more, because professional journalists are always prepared and know how to draw out the best information from their subjects, no matter how seemingly “boring” they come across. Hopefully she can learn from the feedback people are giving her and move on from this in a positive way.

  62. I wasn’t at SXSW but just watched the interview. This young lady broke two big rules of interviewing.

    The first is she obviously wasn’t prepared. Even if you want an interview to be “a conversation” as she puts it, you need to have a structure to it or it’s just not going to be interesting. She looked as if she was just sitting down to chit chat and aside from the first question she asked, there was no real structure or focus to her questioning. Next time, she needs to make a few notes ahead of time, and try to stay on topic.

    The second is, never interview your friends or family. You know too much on a personal level and that doesn’t translate well to an audience. Your conversation becomes filled with innuendo and inside jokes and frankly, nobody cares. The audience will tune out because they are not getting it.

    Mark is not the most charismatic guy in the world, and Facebook could definitely benefit from hiring a spokesperson to handle their media, however he is the main dude and a good interviewer can make anyone look articulate and interesting.

    Lacy’s comment about “try doing what I do for a living and you’ll see how hard it is” is kind of insulting. I do appreciate how hard it is to be an interviewer, I’ve been in the media business for 18 years, and I’m not alone. If she is the “professional” she claims to be, then she should probably work on her interviewing skills a bit more, because professional journalists are always prepared and know how to draw out the best information from their subjects, no matter how seemingly “boring” they come across. Hopefully she can learn from the feedback people are giving her and move on from this in a positive way.

  63. I liked the Steve Ballmer interview,Kawasaki would fire off a load of the typical bullshit Apple ego talk and Ballmer would shoot him down right away.

    Otherwise it was obvious that they where both having fun.

  64. I liked the Steve Ballmer interview,Kawasaki would fire off a load of the typical bullshit Apple ego talk and Ballmer would shoot him down right away.

    Otherwise it was obvious that they where both having fun.

  65. What’s interesting to me about this is the amplifying effect that Twitter had on this, especially your role as a super-connector. As many people have pointed out, there has always been back-channel discussion at conferences using tools like IRC. But IRC has nowhere near the adoption that Twitter has. When someone like you sends out a series of tweets like that to nearly 13,000 people, the news starts to spread like a wildfire. Because your followers are going to tweet about it to all of their followers, and all of a sudden everyone is piling on, even people who weren’t in attendance. As a result, things get blown out of proportion. I’m not disputing that the interview was bad, not suited to the audience, etc. I just thing the reaction was just way out of proportion with what really happened. You had every right to report it as you saw it but keep in mind the size of your audience. Carry on!

  66. What’s interesting to me about this is the amplifying effect that Twitter had on this, especially your role as a super-connector. As many people have pointed out, there has always been back-channel discussion at conferences using tools like IRC. But IRC has nowhere near the adoption that Twitter has. When someone like you sends out a series of tweets like that to nearly 13,000 people, the news starts to spread like a wildfire. Because your followers are going to tweet about it to all of their followers, and all of a sudden everyone is piling on, even people who weren’t in attendance. As a result, things get blown out of proportion. I’m not disputing that the interview was bad, not suited to the audience, etc. I just thing the reaction was just way out of proportion with what really happened. You had every right to report it as you saw it but keep in mind the size of your audience. Carry on!

  67. I agree with John Evans. I wasn’t there but have watched the video. It was a deadly dull interview. I watched ten minutes and nearly fell asleep. If people using Twitter have got nothing better to discuss then poor old them but really it was just a poor interview not the end of civilization as we know it.

  68. I agree with John Evans. I wasn’t there but have watched the video. It was a deadly dull interview. I watched ten minutes and nearly fell asleep. If people using Twitter have got nothing better to discuss then poor old them but really it was just a poor interview not the end of civilization as we know it.

  69. Mike: and the reverse is true too. Guy Kawasaki’s interview got blown way out of proportion because he hit it out of the park. I guess the only thing we can control is the quality of our work. I know when I screw up here it isn’t always fun to hear the feedback that comes all over the blogosphere. But, both Sarah and me have signed up for the public life and the good and bad it brings.

    I actually have already changed my approach to audiences because of this experience. I am watching Twitter live during my speeches now, and I encourage people to heckle me live so that I can make sure I deliver value to my audiences.

  70. Mike: and the reverse is true too. Guy Kawasaki’s interview got blown way out of proportion because he hit it out of the park. I guess the only thing we can control is the quality of our work. I know when I screw up here it isn’t always fun to hear the feedback that comes all over the blogosphere. But, both Sarah and me have signed up for the public life and the good and bad it brings.

    I actually have already changed my approach to audiences because of this experience. I am watching Twitter live during my speeches now, and I encourage people to heckle me live so that I can make sure I deliver value to my audiences.

  71. Here’s an interesting quote from Scoble’s first post of 2008, “More asshat posts in 2008 coming…”

    http://scobleizer.com/2008/01/01/more-asshat-posts-in-2008-coming

    “For those who read just the headline: I’m going in another direction in 2008 — I’m going to try to do more posts and videos that make you more intelligent, not take advantage of your “slow down on the freeway when there’s a wreck” instincts.”

    Would you believe they say most New Year’s resolutions don’t survive past March?

  72. Here’s an interesting quote from Scoble’s first post of 2008, “More asshat posts in 2008 coming…”

    http://scobleizer.com/2008/01/01/more-asshat-posts-in-2008-coming

    “For those who read just the headline: I’m going in another direction in 2008 — I’m going to try to do more posts and videos that make you more intelligent, not take advantage of your “slow down on the freeway when there’s a wreck” instincts.”

    Would you believe they say most New Year’s resolutions don’t survive past March?

  73. 1. Comparing Sarah with Kawasaki is totally unfair.

    2. To those who question her career and were in general hostile and unappreciative of anything, get a life. How many times have you not pushed a buggy code to production? Just because your face isn’t attached to it, doesn’t mean you do a better job than her.

    3. And people had issues with her wearing a short skirt? That was hilarious and does reflect somewhat on the audience.

    While watching the interview, I was really getting the impression that she was doing a good job in putting Mark at ease and opening him up.

    Sure there have been constructive criticisms which she can learn from. But this whole “hostility in the air” isn’t a good environment to be nurturing.

  74. 1. Comparing Sarah with Kawasaki is totally unfair.

    2. To those who question her career and were in general hostile and unappreciative of anything, get a life. How many times have you not pushed a buggy code to production? Just because your face isn’t attached to it, doesn’t mean you do a better job than her.

    3. And people had issues with her wearing a short skirt? That was hilarious and does reflect somewhat on the audience.

    While watching the interview, I was really getting the impression that she was doing a good job in putting Mark at ease and opening him up.

    Sure there have been constructive criticisms which she can learn from. But this whole “hostility in the air” isn’t a good environment to be nurturing.

  75. What everyone is saying goes back to my point about the organizers being responsible in the end for making sure that they have someone to do their keynote who has the experience to be able to take a challenging interview like Zuckerberg and make it work. The organizers should be getting their fare share of flack for placing Lacy in the situation in the first place.

  76. What everyone is saying goes back to my point about the organizers being responsible in the end for making sure that they have someone to do their keynote who has the experience to be able to take a challenging interview like Zuckerberg and make it work. The organizers should be getting their fare share of flack for placing Lacy in the situation in the first place.

  77. Robert,
    It is truely sad to see you claim yourself as one of the “audience assholes.”

    Your points 9 and 10 go to the core of what’s happening in society today. The Internet is changing the way we talk to each other and some of that change is good and some is REALLY bad.

    Studies show that people are less polite in email and in disconnected mediums like Twitter.

    To me it looks like the “Culture of Me” is starting to effect the basic principles of civility. When you go to a show or conference YOU have been invited to listen, as an audience member, to presentations until such a time the speaker asks for your input. Inserting yourself into the presentation is NOT polite, nor is it desired.

    There is nothing more frustrating as a member of an audience than to see rude, stupid people acting like they are children and interrupting the presentation. In fact, children are taught to behave better.

    I understand that maybe the presentation was bad in the minds of some of the audience, but they have a choice to either stay or leave. Go ahead and Twitter, blog and do whatever you can during the presentation that isn’t intrusive, but for the civility of the event, keep your mouth shut until asked to do so otherwise. Anything else is just rude.

    Didn’t the Seinfield “Heckler” episode teach people anything?

  78. Robert,
    It is truely sad to see you claim yourself as one of the “audience assholes.”

    Your points 9 and 10 go to the core of what’s happening in society today. The Internet is changing the way we talk to each other and some of that change is good and some is REALLY bad.

    Studies show that people are less polite in email and in disconnected mediums like Twitter.

    To me it looks like the “Culture of Me” is starting to effect the basic principles of civility. When you go to a show or conference YOU have been invited to listen, as an audience member, to presentations until such a time the speaker asks for your input. Inserting yourself into the presentation is NOT polite, nor is it desired.

    There is nothing more frustrating as a member of an audience than to see rude, stupid people acting like they are children and interrupting the presentation. In fact, children are taught to behave better.

    I understand that maybe the presentation was bad in the minds of some of the audience, but they have a choice to either stay or leave. Go ahead and Twitter, blog and do whatever you can during the presentation that isn’t intrusive, but for the civility of the event, keep your mouth shut until asked to do so otherwise. Anything else is just rude.

    Didn’t the Seinfield “Heckler” episode teach people anything?

  79. Blogging started out with the aim of democratising the media…. What it’s become is a bunch of sniping, bitter, negative, twisted, buffoons who think that their opinion actually matters….

    Gia, as I said over on Arrington’s site, whether it’s “the people making their voices heard” or “a bunch of rabble-rousing thugs” depends on which side of the Bastille you are on.

    …and I’m finding it more and more difficult to defend the internet to people I work with in traditional media.

    Have you tried “Let them eat cake?” :-)

    However, one of the key rules of bombing is that it’s not the audience’s fault that you bombed.

    Good point, Tim. Bears repeating.

    And her homework isn’t at issue when she is a HIRED GUN for this event.

    She is hired to do a *public relations performance*, Robert, not behaving as some critical journalist that one can say did a worse or better job of getting the news. Brian Solis explained this openly: she was HIRED by apparently Facebook and [SXSW] management jointly to put on this SHOW. The entire thing is choreographed.

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Prokofy Neva, please collect your gold star.

    And maybe, really, that’s what set people off more than Zuckerborg’s telling us that Facebook will make teach the world to sing and make the terrorists not hate us anymore; maybe that’s what set people off more than Lacy’s book-pimping and smarmy familiarity; maybe that’s what set people off more than anything else: the cheap illusion that there was going to be something substantive there, the false promise of learning something that hadn’t been processed and regurgitated and reprocessed through the Facebook PR machine. Mmmm, Video News Releases, fresh out of the oven! Who wants some?

    The audience starts to turn when their Bullshit Meters are pegged.

    The audience, in this case, grew up with media being spoon-fed to them: TV beamed stuff into their homes, people stood up on stages and lectured them. Always one-way, from the stage to the audience. Now, it’s starting to change. If Twitter had been around in 1981, would Barbara “What kind of twee,” “Ridley Who?” Walters still have a career as a journalist? Though I hear Anwar Sadat wanted to wrap up his Barbara Walters interview with a hug too.

  80. Blogging started out with the aim of democratising the media…. What it’s become is a bunch of sniping, bitter, negative, twisted, buffoons who think that their opinion actually matters….

    Gia, as I said over on Arrington’s site, whether it’s “the people making their voices heard” or “a bunch of rabble-rousing thugs” depends on which side of the Bastille you are on.

    …and I’m finding it more and more difficult to defend the internet to people I work with in traditional media.

    Have you tried “Let them eat cake?” :-)

    However, one of the key rules of bombing is that it’s not the audience’s fault that you bombed.

    Good point, Tim. Bears repeating.

    And her homework isn’t at issue when she is a HIRED GUN for this event.

    She is hired to do a *public relations performance*, Robert, not behaving as some critical journalist that one can say did a worse or better job of getting the news. Brian Solis explained this openly: she was HIRED by apparently Facebook and [SXSW] management jointly to put on this SHOW. The entire thing is choreographed.

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Prokofy Neva, please collect your gold star.

    And maybe, really, that’s what set people off more than Zuckerborg’s telling us that Facebook will make teach the world to sing and make the terrorists not hate us anymore; maybe that’s what set people off more than Lacy’s book-pimping and smarmy familiarity; maybe that’s what set people off more than anything else: the cheap illusion that there was going to be something substantive there, the false promise of learning something that hadn’t been processed and regurgitated and reprocessed through the Facebook PR machine. Mmmm, Video News Releases, fresh out of the oven! Who wants some?

    The audience starts to turn when their Bullshit Meters are pegged.

    The audience, in this case, grew up with media being spoon-fed to them: TV beamed stuff into their homes, people stood up on stages and lectured them. Always one-way, from the stage to the audience. Now, it’s starting to change. If Twitter had been around in 1981, would Barbara “What kind of twee,” “Ridley Who?” Walters still have a career as a journalist? Though I hear Anwar Sadat wanted to wrap up his Barbara Walters interview with a hug too.

  81. The audience at SXSW is quite unlike any other.

    Well it used to be, last time I went, music, arts, literary, creativeites…until the geeks half transformed it into just another dull techie event, the post CES party. Party when the geeks leave.

    She was hired PR doing hired PR somersaults, something journos shouldn’t ever do, like Tim Russert pitching for some corporate event, which even in it’s best is still a trainwreck. And then cue up a piddly dorky kid as CEO, who can’t hold a conversation, and you get dull speeches, no surprise there. The fact that the audience, targeted her, was just a result of the geeks never trusting pretty girls.

    I view it more as the blogger-twitter dorks never caring to listen or grant any respect, constantly interrupting and taking things over, always demanding hyperfocused fresh worms from whomever happens to be the Big Bird of the moment.

  82. The audience at SXSW is quite unlike any other.

    Well it used to be, last time I went, music, arts, literary, creativeites…until the geeks half transformed it into just another dull techie event, the post CES party. Party when the geeks leave.

    She was hired PR doing hired PR somersaults, something journos shouldn’t ever do, like Tim Russert pitching for some corporate event, which even in it’s best is still a trainwreck. And then cue up a piddly dorky kid as CEO, who can’t hold a conversation, and you get dull speeches, no surprise there. The fact that the audience, targeted her, was just a result of the geeks never trusting pretty girls.

    I view it more as the blogger-twitter dorks never caring to listen or grant any respect, constantly interrupting and taking things over, always demanding hyperfocused fresh worms from whomever happens to be the Big Bird of the moment.

  83. I have to agree with Simon. The bloggers and Twitterers proved once again why no one should care what they think. Not everyone in life is going to confirm to their people’s ideal views. Instead of shrugging their shoulders and moving forward they attack and ridicule. Isn’t blogging all about the writer being front and center? This is known as malignant narcissism in the psych world.

  84. I have to agree with Simon. The bloggers and Twitterers proved once again why no one should care what they think. Not everyone in life is going to confirm to their people’s ideal views. Instead of shrugging their shoulders and moving forward they attack and ridicule. Isn’t blogging all about the writer being front and center? This is known as malignant narcissism in the psych world.

  85. Neologism Alert: I just put Twittering Assholes on Urban Dictionary – it’s there for you to trash.

    A term coined by Robert Scoble to describe those who contributed to the Twitter induced hostility during the 2008 SXSW interview of Facebooks Zuckerburg by BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy.

    Example:

    I liked when IRC backchannel was the asshole facilitator, with twitter, twittering assholes have no barrier to entry.

  86. Neologism Alert: I just put Twittering Assholes on Urban Dictionary – it’s there for you to trash.

    A term coined by Robert Scoble to describe those who contributed to the Twitter induced hostility during the 2008 SXSW interview of Facebooks Zuckerburg by BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy.

    Example:

    I liked when IRC backchannel was the asshole facilitator, with twitter, twittering assholes have no barrier to entry.

  87. You know, I don’t think the audience would have reacted any differently were the same interview to happen today. Lacy’s demeanour with Zuckerberg was all wrong. The fact that everyone was twittering each other in to a frenzy didn’t help – but there were plenty of people in there who weren’t on twitter (due to crap wireless in the room) and were still frustrated and annoyed with the interview.

    Many questions were good and lots of insight was provided, but the bottom line was we didn’t care that Lacy had a personal relationship with Zuckerberg, and she belaboured that point to the detriment of asking questions people wanted to hear.

  88. You know, I don’t think the audience would have reacted any differently were the same interview to happen today. Lacy’s demeanour with Zuckerberg was all wrong. The fact that everyone was twittering each other in to a frenzy didn’t help – but there were plenty of people in there who weren’t on twitter (due to crap wireless in the room) and were still frustrated and annoyed with the interview.

    Many questions were good and lots of insight was provided, but the bottom line was we didn’t care that Lacy had a personal relationship with Zuckerberg, and she belaboured that point to the detriment of asking questions people wanted to hear.

  89. @47 Guy had an easy interview subject. Ballmer is a salesman and that was his audience. He’ll even YOU could have hit that one out of the park.

  90. @47 Guy had an easy interview subject. Ballmer is a salesman and that was his audience. He’ll even YOU could have hit that one out of the park.

  91. The pointless twitterai led by the A-list (you included and Arrington) have created this sado, racist, sexist witch hunt environment.

    The twitterati are the NEW WASP community and when they do not like someone they collectively sting. The few women who actually attend these geek events get

    You are a divorce (due to neglect), Arrington can’t hold down a relationship (due to neglect), Gay Rivera enough said and in Europe Walsh (divorced due to neglect) and Robert Loch (fat gay pointless).

  92. The pointless twitterai led by the A-list (you included and Arrington) have created this sado, racist, sexist witch hunt environment.

    The twitterati are the NEW WASP community and when they do not like someone they collectively sting. The few women who actually attend these geek events get

    You are a divorce (due to neglect), Arrington can’t hold down a relationship (due to neglect), Gay Rivera enough said and in Europe Walsh (divorced due to neglect) and Robert Loch (fat gay pointless).

  93. Its simple – you dont like the interview, then leave. Don’t sit around and be an asshole. Only assholes do that. All I could think while watching the interview is how glad I was that I wasn’t there, cuz I probably would have started a brawl with some of these losers in the audience. So she interviewed him in a style that not a lot of people liked. Get over it, and get a life.

  94. Its simple – you dont like the interview, then leave. Don’t sit around and be an asshole. Only assholes do that. All I could think while watching the interview is how glad I was that I wasn’t there, cuz I probably would have started a brawl with some of these losers in the audience. So she interviewed him in a style that not a lot of people liked. Get over it, and get a life.

  95. Sorry Robert, but I was in the front row and this was NOT a “Business centric” interview.

    Why is the person that should be asking the questions promoting her upcoming book (“pre-order in Amazon”) or telling the audience that she had drinks with him the night before?

    I feel that was the reason both the audience (“ask real questions”) and Zuckerberg (“did you run of of question”) were frustrated.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oraclejulio/2322542768/

  96. Sorry Robert, but I was in the front row and this was NOT a “Business centric” interview.

    Why is the person that should be asking the questions promoting her upcoming book (“pre-order in Amazon”) or telling the audience that she had drinks with him the night before?

    I feel that was the reason both the audience (“ask real questions”) and Zuckerberg (“did you run of of question”) were frustrated.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oraclejulio/2322542768/

  97. Why is Scoble apologizing to Sarah Lacy and yet everyone whose information he skimmed for another company against Facebook poliicy did not get an apology? Being cheeky… just kidding…

    Look, the interview went badly because it would have only gone right if:
    A) Lacy interviewed Zuckerberg as the friend she is in a fireside chat.
    B) Lacy interviewed Zuckerberg as the journalist she is in a serious Q&A.
    Unfortunately she (or SXSW, or Facebook) wanted to split the difference. The audience acted like pricks. It’s actually possible that more than one party acted poorly. It doesn’t need to be so black and white that all are wrong or right. But when Lacy constantly compares herself to Leslie Stahl, or reveals to everyone who will listen afterward how she and Zuckerberg had planned to hug on stage – the uneasy dichotomy is real. As I mentioned in Solis’ comments: Would Tom Brokaw hug his interview? Is it sexist to point out that if Scoble had interviewed Mark that there’d likely be no planned onstage hugging?

    If this entire episode has revealed anything it’s revealed that many Web 2.0 audiences can be jerks even in public, and that we have grown far too comfortable with a technorati that is it’s own best friend. I’m not sure who is a journalist and who’s an expert insider anymore. But it turns out the transparency we’ve all spent time craving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  98. Why is Scoble apologizing to Sarah Lacy and yet everyone whose information he skimmed for another company against Facebook poliicy did not get an apology? Being cheeky… just kidding…

    Look, the interview went badly because it would have only gone right if:
    A) Lacy interviewed Zuckerberg as the friend she is in a fireside chat.
    B) Lacy interviewed Zuckerberg as the journalist she is in a serious Q&A.
    Unfortunately she (or SXSW, or Facebook) wanted to split the difference. The audience acted like pricks. It’s actually possible that more than one party acted poorly. It doesn’t need to be so black and white that all are wrong or right. But when Lacy constantly compares herself to Leslie Stahl, or reveals to everyone who will listen afterward how she and Zuckerberg had planned to hug on stage – the uneasy dichotomy is real. As I mentioned in Solis’ comments: Would Tom Brokaw hug his interview? Is it sexist to point out that if Scoble had interviewed Mark that there’d likely be no planned onstage hugging?

    If this entire episode has revealed anything it’s revealed that many Web 2.0 audiences can be jerks even in public, and that we have grown far too comfortable with a technorati that is it’s own best friend. I’m not sure who is a journalist and who’s an expert insider anymore. But it turns out the transparency we’ve all spent time craving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  99. what ever happened to vote with your feet?

    I remember not too long ago if you weren’t happy with the direction a lecture, presentation, panel discussion interview went you simply got up and left to do something else.

    It’s concerning that behavior such as verbally abusing people has suddenly swapped over from chat rooms and online forums to the real world.

    This mob mentality is very saddening. I wonder what’s next… people punching each other because they don’t agree with what someone say?

  100. what ever happened to vote with your feet?

    I remember not too long ago if you weren’t happy with the direction a lecture, presentation, panel discussion interview went you simply got up and left to do something else.

    It’s concerning that behavior such as verbally abusing people has suddenly swapped over from chat rooms and online forums to the real world.

    This mob mentality is very saddening. I wonder what’s next… people punching each other because they don’t agree with what someone say?

  101. Great post. I was thoroughly confused about the snippets of this I had overheard, and your writeup and links put it all together.

  102. Great post. I was thoroughly confused about the snippets of this I had overheard, and your writeup and links put it all together.

  103. I’ve seen male interviewers bomb horribly. I’ve been interviewed by ineffective male interviewers myself, whose pauses made me very uncomfortable and off-note.

    However, I’ve never seen a male interviewer behave like Lacy. You can’t help but see the whole thing as one long, tortuous flirtation. She put so much of herself into her “questions”… Sure, maybe the goal was to have the whole thing look like a friendly chat, but she clearly was too self-absorbed that she didn’t know when to stop.

    Women interviewers, just like men interviewers, are expected to be good at what they do. Bad male interviewers get ripped into as well. I don’t think the criticism has been more harsh because she’s female, but because of her overt behavior. You can’t say a male interviewer wouldn’t have received so much flack, because there’s never been a major male interviewer who did the things with the legs and the hair. Seriously. I’ve also never seen an interviewer apparently try to cut down the interviewee with embarrassing stories (outside of obviously mutual buddy-bashing teams a la the Digg TV people). I have, however, seen many fawning male interviewers and they don’t get any more (or less) respect than Lacy does.

    Interviewers, like teachers and authors, must be held accountable if their messages don’t get across to the audience — it’s not the audience’s job to understand and appreciate the interviewer. Their job is to please the audience. If they fail, it doesn’t matter if they’re basically good people, nervous, or crushing, like, really hard on the sweaty Zuck. They failed. The audience doesn’t have to care why or be especially gentle on someone because that someone happens to be a woman.

  104. I’ve seen male interviewers bomb horribly. I’ve been interviewed by ineffective male interviewers myself, whose pauses made me very uncomfortable and off-note.

    However, I’ve never seen a male interviewer behave like Lacy. You can’t help but see the whole thing as one long, tortuous flirtation. She put so much of herself into her “questions”… Sure, maybe the goal was to have the whole thing look like a friendly chat, but she clearly was too self-absorbed that she didn’t know when to stop.

    Women interviewers, just like men interviewers, are expected to be good at what they do. Bad male interviewers get ripped into as well. I don’t think the criticism has been more harsh because she’s female, but because of her overt behavior. You can’t say a male interviewer wouldn’t have received so much flack, because there’s never been a major male interviewer who did the things with the legs and the hair. Seriously. I’ve also never seen an interviewer apparently try to cut down the interviewee with embarrassing stories (outside of obviously mutual buddy-bashing teams a la the Digg TV people). I have, however, seen many fawning male interviewers and they don’t get any more (or less) respect than Lacy does.

    Interviewers, like teachers and authors, must be held accountable if their messages don’t get across to the audience — it’s not the audience’s job to understand and appreciate the interviewer. Their job is to please the audience. If they fail, it doesn’t matter if they’re basically good people, nervous, or crushing, like, really hard on the sweaty Zuck. They failed. The audience doesn’t have to care why or be especially gentle on someone because that someone happens to be a woman.

  105. The over-analysis and the sympathy for Sarah Lacy is becoming entertaining. Bottom-line is she did a poor job with a moderately difficult assignment. In most sectors, such a public blunder gets you canned or at least sidelined. I was on the second row at the event and the video doesnt communicate how unprofessionally this woman handled her job.

  106. The over-analysis and the sympathy for Sarah Lacy is becoming entertaining. Bottom-line is she did a poor job with a moderately difficult assignment. In most sectors, such a public blunder gets you canned or at least sidelined. I was on the second row at the event and the video doesnt communicate how unprofessionally this woman handled her job.

  107. I completely disagree that the interview was about sexism. I am sensitive to sexism ($0.75/$1.00). I thought a lot about it and if it was a man interviewing a woman, he would have been just as panned. In fact, something very similar happened on a much smaller scale in another panel I went to.(Look at CNN Money article for details http://tinyurl.com/2psjzr). I urge you to WATCH the Lacy/Zuckerberg interview. I couldn’t get a signal in the room so I wasn’t on twitter but I was sms texting my colleague with the same reaction as the audience.

  108. I completely disagree that the interview was about sexism. I am sensitive to sexism ($0.75/$1.00). I thought a lot about it and if it was a man interviewing a woman, he would have been just as panned. In fact, something very similar happened on a much smaller scale in another panel I went to.(Look at CNN Money article for details http://tinyurl.com/2psjzr). I urge you to WATCH the Lacy/Zuckerberg interview. I couldn’t get a signal in the room so I wasn’t on twitter but I was sms texting my colleague with the same reaction as the audience.

  109. @dawnkey what, were you expecting ideas, concepts, thought leadership and futurism to be the HOT TOPICS OF THE DAY.

    Train wrecks are much more easily monetized. So sayeth Google Analytics.

  110. @dawnkey what, were you expecting ideas, concepts, thought leadership and futurism to be the HOT TOPICS OF THE DAY.

    Train wrecks are much more easily monetized. So sayeth Google Analytics.

  111. Quoted from above, “I understand that maybe the presentation was bad in the minds of some of the audience, but they have a choice to either stay or leave. Go ahead and Twitter, blog and do whatever you can during the presentation that isn’t intrusive, but for the civility of the event, keep your mouth shut until asked to do so otherwise. Anything else is just rude.”

    When I go to the movies and the view is out of focus or someone is interrupting my entertainment by talking or distracting from the point of being there. I am not going to civilly remain silent to appease “Miss Manners” book of etiquette. I paid for a service and have certain expectations to receive something in kind. And usually I don’t rent an expensive hotel room, pay for a round-trip flight, or charge my time to my business when I go to the movies. This isn’t about civility. It is about customer service and fairness.

    This interview was way out of focus and the interviewer herself was causing noise and distraction from the main event and why people where there in the first place (to hear about Facebook). I am surprised that they waited as long as they did before they told the “projector operator” that the show was grossly out of focus, and before they told the person causing the distraction to stop. I would have done this within 5 minutes of the start of the show, not wait until the last 5 minutes … at that point I’d be REALLY frustrated (perhaps they practiced civility as long as they could, expecting an eventual payoff that never came). And no, I have paid … and taken the time to be there, I shouldn’t have to walk out disappointed. Put the blame with the problem, not with those wrongly impacted. The fact that the audience’s needs were totally dismissed (in pursuit of self interests) is the story here, not the audience’s reaction to that.

    And this downplaying of her non-verbal communications as woman-hating is both confusing and disturbing. 80% of human communication is body language, facial expressions, intonation, and other non-verbal clues .. ask any schooled linguist. It isn’t what you say as much as how you say and show it, and what your intentions are. So email and microblogging are not even good examples to use for loss of civility as 80% of what is being said isn’t even included. Of course all attention is directed towards her now and then, that is about her, whether planned or born of inexperience.

    Good customer service makes people content and satisfied and civil. Bad customer service is just plain irritating, insulting and disrespectful, regardless of the motivations.

    And, why not continue talking about this? This is a great example of the power of digital communications and social aspects of the Web for dialog and convergent and divergent thinking. Who is afraid of diversity of thought and voices here? Not me! Why the need by some to control and punish points of view? There is plenty of room on the Web for both left- and right-brainers.

  112. Quoted from above, “I understand that maybe the presentation was bad in the minds of some of the audience, but they have a choice to either stay or leave. Go ahead and Twitter, blog and do whatever you can during the presentation that isn’t intrusive, but for the civility of the event, keep your mouth shut until asked to do so otherwise. Anything else is just rude.”

    When I go to the movies and the view is out of focus or someone is interrupting my entertainment by talking or distracting from the point of being there. I am not going to civilly remain silent to appease “Miss Manners” book of etiquette. I paid for a service and have certain expectations to receive something in kind. And usually I don’t rent an expensive hotel room, pay for a round-trip flight, or charge my time to my business when I go to the movies. This isn’t about civility. It is about customer service and fairness.

    This interview was way out of focus and the interviewer herself was causing noise and distraction from the main event and why people where there in the first place (to hear about Facebook). I am surprised that they waited as long as they did before they told the “projector operator” that the show was grossly out of focus, and before they told the person causing the distraction to stop. I would have done this within 5 minutes of the start of the show, not wait until the last 5 minutes … at that point I’d be REALLY frustrated (perhaps they practiced civility as long as they could, expecting an eventual payoff that never came). And no, I have paid … and taken the time to be there, I shouldn’t have to walk out disappointed. Put the blame with the problem, not with those wrongly impacted. The fact that the audience’s needs were totally dismissed (in pursuit of self interests) is the story here, not the audience’s reaction to that.

    And this downplaying of her non-verbal communications as woman-hating is both confusing and disturbing. 80% of human communication is body language, facial expressions, intonation, and other non-verbal clues .. ask any schooled linguist. It isn’t what you say as much as how you say and show it, and what your intentions are. So email and microblogging are not even good examples to use for loss of civility as 80% of what is being said isn’t even included. Of course all attention is directed towards her now and then, that is about her, whether planned or born of inexperience.

    Good customer service makes people content and satisfied and civil. Bad customer service is just plain irritating, insulting and disrespectful, regardless of the motivations.

    And, why not continue talking about this? This is a great example of the power of digital communications and social aspects of the Web for dialog and convergent and divergent thinking. Who is afraid of diversity of thought and voices here? Not me! Why the need by some to control and punish points of view? There is plenty of room on the Web for both left- and right-brainers.

  113. I wasn’t there. I watched the video a couple of times. Is it sexism if she puts it out there as such a predominate part of her whole “thing”? I don’t think so…

    Robert, I understand that you’re doing some damage control and that you see both sides of the issue. It’s so 2.0 to do this. Give an honest, be it scathing review of something and then spend the next couple of days retracting big chunks of it. TechCrunch, Mashable, Valleywag, Fred Wilson, everybody falls into this trap.

    Bottom line, it was a really bad interview. Sure the subject was tough but a good interviewer gets past that. Stick with your first, gut reaction of this, it was right!

  114. I wasn’t there. I watched the video a couple of times. Is it sexism if she puts it out there as such a predominate part of her whole “thing”? I don’t think so…

    Robert, I understand that you’re doing some damage control and that you see both sides of the issue. It’s so 2.0 to do this. Give an honest, be it scathing review of something and then spend the next couple of days retracting big chunks of it. TechCrunch, Mashable, Valleywag, Fred Wilson, everybody falls into this trap.

    Bottom line, it was a really bad interview. Sure the subject was tough but a good interviewer gets past that. Stick with your first, gut reaction of this, it was right!

  115. Well said.

    And utterly without the bias so many others have shown, while examining the reasons the bias took the forefront.

    Kudos, Robert – MAJOR kudos!

  116. Well said.

    And utterly without the bias so many others have shown, while examining the reasons the bias took the forefront.

    Kudos, Robert – MAJOR kudos!

  117. No idea what went on here, and I’m not sure I care. It’s a pity to see the twitterization of tech culture, though. Y’all seem to be worshipping the hive mind. You think you can reach Nirvana on 144 characters, traveling in packs with people you scarcely know. It seems to distort consciousness, whatever else it does. It reminds me of nothing other than the equivalent of the latest drug in the ’60s. Hey, man, if you look at your hand while you’re twittering, you can see the Moon!
    I tried Twitter for a month, and it seemed to me seductive and boring at the same time. Why do you want to pretend to know people you don’t?

  118. No idea what went on here, and I’m not sure I care. It’s a pity to see the twitterization of tech culture, though. Y’all seem to be worshipping the hive mind. You think you can reach Nirvana on 144 characters, traveling in packs with people you scarcely know. It seems to distort consciousness, whatever else it does. It reminds me of nothing other than the equivalent of the latest drug in the ’60s. Hey, man, if you look at your hand while you’re twittering, you can see the Moon!
    I tried Twitter for a month, and it seemed to me seductive and boring at the same time. Why do you want to pretend to know people you don’t?

  119. Her book for preorder on Amazon just doubled in price!!!! Just kidding!

    What do they say? Humans are smart, people are stupid. I think what you witnessed Humans are smart, people are stupid!! And I think a “mob mentality” typically seen in a riot let’s say as people filled one another with the twitter jabs and it escalated from there.

    Yea, Lacy is HOT!! She knows it and since most people in the room have never kissed a girl or at least one like that, they penalized her for coming into *their* House and f**king things up!!!

    Think from the psychology aspect this is an interesting case study, hence my post, but simple lesson is she wasnt the right interviewer for the subgeek! (lol)

  120. Her book for preorder on Amazon just doubled in price!!!! Just kidding!

    What do they say? Humans are smart, people are stupid. I think what you witnessed Humans are smart, people are stupid!! And I think a “mob mentality” typically seen in a riot let’s say as people filled one another with the twitter jabs and it escalated from there.

    Yea, Lacy is HOT!! She knows it and since most people in the room have never kissed a girl or at least one like that, they penalized her for coming into *their* House and f**king things up!!!

    Think from the psychology aspect this is an interesting case study, hence my post, but simple lesson is she wasnt the right interviewer for the subgeek! (lol)

  121. Interesting that some people are making the analogy that attending a conference session they don’t like is similar to receiving poor customer service from a company. They seem to think that being rude is an acceptable response to receiving a service that they’re not happy with.

    Well, it’s not acceptable. And it doesn’t result in getting good customer service either.

  122. Interesting that some people are making the analogy that attending a conference session they don’t like is similar to receiving poor customer service from a company. They seem to think that being rude is an acceptable response to receiving a service that they’re not happy with.

    Well, it’s not acceptable. And it doesn’t result in getting good customer service either.

  123. Hi scoble,

    Sarah did not wear short skirt as you have mentioned here, she was wearing tight half pants(see the video agian) , her legs were still visible tough, I think she did this on purpose though.

    “There is quite a bit of sexism that is a subtext here. Lots of people in the hallways commented on her choice of clothing (she wore a short skirt that made her legs very prominently displayed”

    certianly with all the tall talks of women’s liberation in america there is much more it

  124. Hi scoble,

    Sarah did not wear short skirt as you have mentioned here, she was wearing tight half pants(see the video agian) , her legs were still visible tough, I think she did this on purpose though.

    “There is quite a bit of sexism that is a subtext here. Lots of people in the hallways commented on her choice of clothing (she wore a short skirt that made her legs very prominently displayed”

    certianly with all the tall talks of women’s liberation in america there is much more it

  125. american: yeah, I was in the overflow room and on the TV screens I just saw her legs, so didn’t know whether it was pants or a skirt. Thanks for the correction.

  126. american: yeah, I was in the overflow room and on the TV screens I just saw her legs, so didn’t know whether it was pants or a skirt. Thanks for the correction.

  127. Lacy is to blame for not doing her homework on the ZUCKERBOT 3000. A cursory review of its previous interviews shows that it was not programmed to respond vocally to conversational statements. It can only process sentences containing interrogative determiners that conclude with a raised tone (minimum half-octave).

  128. Lacy is to blame for not doing her homework on the ZUCKERBOT 3000. A cursory review of its previous interviews shows that it was not programmed to respond vocally to conversational statements. It can only process sentences containing interrogative determiners that conclude with a raised tone (minimum half-octave).

  129. “Her legs were still visible though, I think she did this on purpose”

    Yes, cetainly she “did this on purpose”; as opposed to getting dressed in the dark, and picking clothes out from a random clothing dispenser. Obviously, this is outrageous behaviour, because, as you say, her legs aren’t invisible.

    What truly amazes me is that people who consider themselves intelligent (many might beg to differ) would even bother to comment on Sarah’s choice of clothing; and how she was touching her hair… let alone get uptight about it. It’s laughable, but it must say something about them. Insecure? Repressed? Socially inadequate? All of the above?

    Truly un-****-ing believable…

  130. “Her legs were still visible though, I think she did this on purpose”

    Yes, cetainly she “did this on purpose”; as opposed to getting dressed in the dark, and picking clothes out from a random clothing dispenser. Obviously, this is outrageous behaviour, because, as you say, her legs aren’t invisible.

    What truly amazes me is that people who consider themselves intelligent (many might beg to differ) would even bother to comment on Sarah’s choice of clothing; and how she was touching her hair… let alone get uptight about it. It’s laughable, but it must say something about them. Insecure? Repressed? Socially inadequate? All of the above?

    Truly un-****-ing believable…

  131. Sexism??

    Get out of the 1950s, what’s wrong with pointing out the fact that this “journalist/columnist” simply did not know how to properly interview?

    Don’t throw red herrings all over the place for everyone else to slip on. Go by the facts: it was a horrible interview (by any gender standards)

  132. Sexism??

    Get out of the 1950s, what’s wrong with pointing out the fact that this “journalist/columnist” simply did not know how to properly interview?

    Don’t throw red herrings all over the place for everyone else to slip on. Go by the facts: it was a horrible interview (by any gender standards)

  133. Robert,
    How dare you decree that everyone in the audience were “assholes.” F that. It was a bad interview. You don’t have sufficient spine to stand by your opinion because she called you down. But respect the opinions of the rest of us who agreed with your first opinion, not the revisionist you. Even if we do disagree, that doesn’t make us assholes. We were customers. We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview and did not get that. I gave a clear, unemotional — not not sexist, damnit — analysis of what went wrong from a journalistic perspective (and thank you for the link) and to criticize her bad job is not to be a sexist asshole. Now after hitting the car in front of you, you’re going in reverse and hitting the car behind. That’s not a rational judgment. And it is an insult to the hundreds there who had a legitimate opinion of her bad job.

  134. Robert,
    How dare you decree that everyone in the audience were “assholes.” F that. It was a bad interview. You don’t have sufficient spine to stand by your opinion because she called you down. But respect the opinions of the rest of us who agreed with your first opinion, not the revisionist you. Even if we do disagree, that doesn’t make us assholes. We were customers. We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview and did not get that. I gave a clear, unemotional — not not sexist, damnit — analysis of what went wrong from a journalistic perspective (and thank you for the link) and to criticize her bad job is not to be a sexist asshole. Now after hitting the car in front of you, you’re going in reverse and hitting the car behind. That’s not a rational judgment. And it is an insult to the hundreds there who had a legitimate opinion of her bad job.

  135. We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview

    Ummm, when have conference or panel interviews EVER been professionally executed and interesting? They are PR-dressed-up garb, with the real story and/or real action happening off-stage, as a “journalist” you should know that.

    You have a right to attend the performance, nothing more, you cannot confer a personal quality indicator, and then go mob-rule crazy when things don’t somehow meet your subjective standards. View the performance, then write the review, savage or praise.

    Try the same method in a Broadway play or movie theater, and you will be banned from the chain(s) for life. Your ticket gets you in, nothing more. And if “professionally executed and interesting” is your criteria, not much in Hollywood would ever qualify. If you dislike it that much, being a coward and not seeing it through to the end, then leave.

    As for Scoble burning down the house and then rushing to firehose it out, that’s always been his style, two sides of the coin, switching when the blog-wind picks a winner. The controversy gets hits, and the kiss and make-up does too. Your surprised indignation makes me wonder again about the alleged “journalist” part, as Scoble’s been that way since day one.

  136. We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview

    Ummm, when have conference or panel interviews EVER been professionally executed and interesting? They are PR-dressed-up garb, with the real story and/or real action happening off-stage, as a “journalist” you should know that.

    You have a right to attend the performance, nothing more, you cannot confer a personal quality indicator, and then go mob-rule crazy when things don’t somehow meet your subjective standards. View the performance, then write the review, savage or praise.

    Try the same method in a Broadway play or movie theater, and you will be banned from the chain(s) for life. Your ticket gets you in, nothing more. And if “professionally executed and interesting” is your criteria, not much in Hollywood would ever qualify. If you dislike it that much, being a coward and not seeing it through to the end, then leave.

    As for Scoble burning down the house and then rushing to firehose it out, that’s always been his style, two sides of the coin, switching when the blog-wind picks a winner. The controversy gets hits, and the kiss and make-up does too. Your surprised indignation makes me wonder again about the alleged “journalist” part, as Scoble’s been that way since day one.

  137. Sexism is such a cop out. It had nothing to do with her sex. If a guy was in the same position, I’d of said the same thing.

    Secondly, if she wanted to be seen as an equal, she’d not act like she wanted to drop her pants every 5 minutes. Moderate flirting is good but she acted like a teenager.

    The crowd did turn into a mob, because when people told her her interviewing sucked, she didn’t care what they thought and it was her interview, so screw them.

    She went into that interview for herself, and probably for her book. Not for the crowd, and that’s where it went bad.

  138. Sexism is such a cop out. It had nothing to do with her sex. If a guy was in the same position, I’d of said the same thing.

    Secondly, if she wanted to be seen as an equal, she’d not act like she wanted to drop her pants every 5 minutes. Moderate flirting is good but she acted like a teenager.

    The crowd did turn into a mob, because when people told her her interviewing sucked, she didn’t care what they thought and it was her interview, so screw them.

    She went into that interview for herself, and probably for her book. Not for the crowd, and that’s where it went bad.

  139. Remind me to cut my hair before a big onstage interview and cover my legs. That and to never “need” to be in the good graces of the interviewee.

  140. Remind me to cut my hair before a big onstage interview and cover my legs. That and to never “need” to be in the good graces of the interviewee.

  141. Dittos to Coulter. Or should I say ‘twittos’? Mega-twittos.

    We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview and did not get that.

    Jeff is expressing some confusion here as to what ‘rights’ we possess, or should rightfully possess. And I’m not trying to be crypto-libertarian, it’s just that ‘buyer beware’ is operative at these conferences. Cut your losses and walk out if you don’t like the speaker or her presentation.

    And really, no dressing up of the adverorial-slash-keynote is going to make the ZUCKERBOT 3000 look good in a public speaking setting. He’s just young and inexperienced on stage. You get what you pay for. More cliches at 11.

  142. Dittos to Coulter. Or should I say ‘twittos’? Mega-twittos.

    We had the right to expect a professionally executed and interesting interview and did not get that.

    Jeff is expressing some confusion here as to what ‘rights’ we possess, or should rightfully possess. And I’m not trying to be crypto-libertarian, it’s just that ‘buyer beware’ is operative at these conferences. Cut your losses and walk out if you don’t like the speaker or her presentation.

    And really, no dressing up of the adverorial-slash-keynote is going to make the ZUCKERBOT 3000 look good in a public speaking setting. He’s just young and inexperienced on stage. You get what you pay for. More cliches at 11.


  143. mark’s clarifications it sums up everything at best and to mark – dude you are in thing now, try to losen up a bit try learning from steve ballmer, steve jobs and others in your trade


  144. mark’s clarifications it sums up everything at best and to mark – dude you are in thing now, try to losen up a bit try learning from steve ballmer, steve jobs and others in your trade

  145. If its a performance, (like a theater piece or a sports event) then the audience has the right to heckle the bad performancer and cheer a good moment.

    If its a professional interview, then the audience should stay quiet or get up and leave.

    So was this interview a PR stunt or a professional conference session? It seems to me the former….

  146. If its a performance, (like a theater piece or a sports event) then the audience has the right to heckle the bad performancer and cheer a good moment.

    If its a professional interview, then the audience should stay quiet or get up and leave.

    So was this interview a PR stunt or a professional conference session? It seems to me the former….

  147. Re: UPDATE

    Robert, Wendy Piersall and Amy made comments on Brian’s blog entry that are a lot more interesting and informative than Brian’s spin of Lacy’s performance. The comments speak volumes. Brian did not. – Tim

  148. Re: UPDATE

    Robert, Wendy Piersall and Amy made comments on Brian’s blog entry that are a lot more interesting and informative than Brian’s spin of Lacy’s performance. The comments speak volumes. Brian did not. – Tim

  149. Re: UPDATE

    In fairness, your interview by Winer clarified many things, most specifically the expectations of the audience, and why it was different from other conferences. – Tim

  150. Re: UPDATE

    In fairness, your interview by Winer clarified many things, most specifically the expectations of the audience, and why it was different from other conferences. – Tim

  151. If the conferences I go to were this damn fun, even if I were Sarah Lacey, I’d be pretty pleased there was that much passion about my chosen subject.

  152. If the conferences I go to were this damn fun, even if I were Sarah Lacey, I’d be pretty pleased there was that much passion about my chosen subject.

  153. [...] This negative view on the blogosphere was recently enforced through a case of conference twittering. An audience, connected through the micro-blogging service Twitter, turned hostile during a podium discussion that was moderated by the journalist Sarah Lacy [sarahcuda] (for two accounts of the event see: The “Nuclear Disaster” At SXSW Was Nothing More Than A Witch Burning and Audience of Twittering Assholes). [...]

  154. SXSW Postgame: Social Media Marketing Metrics Strategy and the Culture of Cruelty

    After the Zukerberg keynote debacle, this panel seems to rank #2 in terms of virtual rancor. Looking back, it’s an interesting comparison between the real-life panel contents and the virtual vitriolic world that (d)evolved in the parallel Meebo chatro…

  155. [...] This negative view on the blogosphere was recently reinforced through a case of conference twittering. An audience, connected through the micro-blogging service Twitter, turned hostile during a podium discussion that was moderated by the journalist, Sarah Lacy [sarahcuda] (for two accounts of the event see: The “Nuclear Disaster” At SXSW Was Nothing More Than A Witch Burning and Audience of Twittering Assholes). [...]