Sarah Lacy, Mark Zuckerberg And How Fast A Train Can Wreck

9 03 2008

I wouldn’t have known the instant reaction about Sara Lacy’s interview with Mark Zuckerberg and how the audience absolutely went for blood over what is being called a trainwreck.

AUSTIN, Texas — They came expecting a civilized, one-on-one discussion, but they got what some attendees described as “a train wreck.”

Ballroom A of the Austin Convention Center was packed to capacity on Sunday evening for an hour-long intervew with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the keynote speaker at this year’s South By Southwest Interactive festival. The 23-year-old billionaire founder of the social networking site was interviewed on stage by author and journalist Sarah Lacy. Using her unique, friendly style of interviewing — closer to two friends chatting than a straight question-and-answer session — Lacy tried to get the notoriously tight-lipped Zuckerberg to open up. But the discussion rarely strayed beyond the usual business fare and eventually descended into a string of awkward moments punctuated by the audience’s heckling.

“Talk about something interesting,” one attendee yelled about half way through the keynote. The remark was met with waves of cheering and applause.

Meanwhile, members of the audience participated in a backchannel discussion on Twitter, with users of the microblogging site directing most of their animosity at Lacy’s unorthodox interview technique.

“Never, ever have I seen such a train wreck of an interview,” said Jason Pontin on Twitter. “Poor girl, flirtatiously awful tho’ she was.”

This all happened in a matter of about three hours. It hit the Internet immediately.

Lacy went on later to put on Twitter:

seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things.

Yep, them there internets are fast and so much of it was done on Twitter and in instant fashion.

Grabbing the popcorn and sitting back.

There was even a cartoon put up instantly.

It’s stuff like this that changes the game of journalism, blogging and social media networking platforms. And I’m watching. Man, cause the game is changing.

We have a lot to learn and it’s happening right now.

Damn, if it doesn’t make want me to go to Austin next year.

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5 responses

9 03 2008
S Najmi

The fact of the matter is, she was a terrible interviewer. I left 15 min before it ended because I couldn’t take it anymore, I was cringing the entire time. The interview was more about her showing off her behind-the-scenes knowledge than about anything else. As designers, we were not interested in the intriguings of politics and who offered how much to acquire Facebook. Instead, there was not a single question asked of Zuckerberg about the design of it. He wasn’t tight-lipped either. The interviewer was very clearly atrocious. Though yes, I do think the crowd wouldn’t have found it as easy to stand up and let her know that had she not been a woman.

9 03 2008
newscoma

Thanks for the feedback, S.
I’m very intrigued by all of this.

10 03 2008
Sam Davidson

Thanks for highlighting this. Indeed the game has changed/is changing.

10 03 2008
MGH Word of Mouth » Blog Archive » HOW NOT TO INTERVIEW MARK ZUCKERBERG

[…] buzzing about the disaster. And, unfortunately for Ms. Lacy, this negative buzz will undoubtedly continue through the end of this week (or at least until someone else screws […]

29 04 2008
How-To: Using Twitter to Build Brand Integrity « Social Media Mavens

[…] to say. Twitter users scalded Sarah Lacy in real-time when her interview with Mark Zuckerberg went awry at SXSW in […]

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