How Steve Hall, Paul Gillin, Zach Braiker and Todd Defren Rocked Their Emerson Gig


Last week, the ASL gang and I had an awesome time going to a social media event at Emerson. Steve Hall, Paul Gillin, Zach Braiker and Todd Defren were nice enough to participate in a panel to discuss social media with us and our classmates. It was by far one of the best panels focused on social media that I’ve been to in a while.

As Steve later told us, the organizers asked them to prepare a ppt. presentation and give a 10 minute talk about social media… yawn. After a long day of internships and classes, we would have had a hard time sitting through 40 minutes of slides. Thankfully, Steve, Paul, Zach and Todd are such cool guys, they told the organizers they weren’t going to do that, threw out ppt. and did something totally different.

Before the panel, they created a wiki to brainstorm 10 intentionally polarizing statements about social media and made the entire panel an open debate about the statements. I enjoyed this kind of format at a panel at Euroblog this year. They weren’t afraid to totally disagree with each other, allow the audience members to ask questions or share their opinions during any part of the panel. They even encouraged me, Will, Sarah, Amy and Maria to live tweet and share reactions from the twitterverse. We were completely impressed and walked away feeling even more excited about living, working and studying in the space.

Here were a few key reasons why we loved this panel:

1. They spoke with us rather than at us about social media… isn’t that the point of social media anyway??

2. They threw out ppt. and rehearsed speeches in order to encourage honest off-the-cuff dialog

3. They spent the majority of the time asking and debating questions rather than making broad statements about social media

4. They encouraged feedback from the audience during the entire session, not just the last 5 minutes of the night

5. They talked to (or tweeted with) each other before the panel so they knew each other and could have fun on the panel together rather than join the panel as strangers

6. They stuck around after the panel to talk to all of us and connect one-on-one

7. It doesn’t hurt to feature the ASL gang in your blog the next day. Seriously, if we weren’t before, we’re all die hard groupies now.

I could go on…

Anyway, if these guys are ever speaking at an event near you (wow this sounds like a commercial), definitely go, enjoy and throw out a few tough questions for them to discuss.

-Amanda Mooney


4 Responses to “How Steve Hall, Paul Gillin, Zach Braiker and Todd Defren Rocked Their Emerson Gig”

  1. 1 Melissa

    Sad I missed the panel, but love the tweets.

  2. Wow, thx for the awesome write-up, Amanda! So glad to meet you in person.

  3. nice approach! Bon chance.

  4. 4 Sarah

    Really a great panel. Each panelist brought their own views on social media and had very interesting things to say. Todd Defren really needs to be a TV/game show host because he was a sick moderator.

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