Randi Zuckerberg Navigates the “dot complicated” World

By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News

Moria Forbes, publisher of Forbes Woman, interviewing Randi Zuckerberg, author of dot complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives

Moria Forbes, publisher of Forbes Woman, interviewing Randi Zuckerberg, author of dot complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives

Randi Zuckerberg navigated the early years of social media at Facebook and remembers a pivotal moment while working on the 2008 election.
“We obviously were drinking the Kool-Aid of social media in Silicon Valley,” Zuckerberg said.
But she was shocked at how the presidential campaigns weren’t using Facebook and social media. She remembers calling the McCain staff and the Clinton staff and begging them to use Facebook and social media. But it was the Obama campaign that got onboard early and they did so without Facebook even reaching out to them. The Obama campaign’s site on Facebook contributed a significant part to that election, Zuckerberg said.
“For Facebook, people stopped thinking of it as just a college site and really starting thinking of it as a meaningful platform for political change,” she said.
From there, Zuckerberg started specializing in global politics, elections and media partnerships at Facebook.
At Dell World, Moira Forbes, publisher of ForbesWoman, interviewed Zuckerberg, now CEO of Zuckerberg Media, during a Thursday afternoon session. Zuckerberg is a former marketing executive at Facebook and author of dot complicated, a book on navigating the online world.

Zuckerberg launched her own media company

Zuckerberg got her start as a journalist working at Forbes on Fox.
Several years later, she launched her media company at Facebook, which held hack-a-thons every few months at its headquarters. People stayed up all night long and the only rule was that they had to work on a passion project outside their day jobs. And one of Zuckerberg’s passion projects was to start a television network inside Facebook. They had hundreds of millions of people using the platform at that time. She wanted to reach that audience with her own television show.
At one of the hack-a-thons, she launched her show from inside a broom closet at Facebook. She turned on a camera and began broadcasting live online. For the first show, she had six viewers and two of them were her parents.
About a week later, representatives from Singer and Songwriter Katy Perry contacted her and said Perry wanted to be on her Facebook television show.
“Then I had to pretend it was an actual television show,” Zuckerberg said.
During the next few months, she had so many celebrities and people who appeared on the television show that it showed her the power of social media and live content.
“So when President Obama asked if he could come on this Facebook television show and talk to all of America, I thought this is the moment and this is what I clearly love to do,” Zuckerberg said.
That’s when she quit her job at Facebook and launched her own media company. And she was pregnant, but she knew what she wanted to do and she wanted to take a big risk. She sold her house and put all her assets into the new company.

Navigating the dot complicated life

imgres-2Forbes then asked Zuckerberg what dot complicated meant to her and why she decided to write the book.
“Ask any random person on the street if they’ve had a “dot complicated” moment recently, you don’t even have to describe what that means, and they’ll probably say yes, let me tell you about it,” Zuckerberg said.
It might be about posting something inappropriate or someone else posting something objectionable online, she said. Mobile devices have become pervasive in our lives and they have changed every aspect of it, from finding love to parenting, Zuckerberg said.
“I have a very complicated relationship with technology, if I have this very complicated relationship, surely millions of people around the world do too. They feel like their lives are a bit overwhelmed and maybe they can learn or laugh at my story and maybe we can navigate this world together,” she said.
Zuckerberg detailed many of the most dot complicated moments of her life in the book in hopes that people can learn from them.
For example, she recounted a time when she was playing with her six month old son, she was also answering emails and texting. Then she noticed her son pick up the remote control and act like he was text messaging on it.
That’s when she realized she needed to manage her relationship with technology so she wouldn’t teach her son that technology was competing for her time with him.

The quest for privacy in an increasing transparent online world

Forbes said Zuckerberg wrote a lot about privacy in her book. She asked Zuckerberg how she managed to maintain her personal privacy and keep it separate from her public persona.
Zuckerberg recounted that last Christmas she was with her family and they were all standing around the kitchen table texting on different devices and she took a picture. She posted it to her friends on Facebook. A few hours later she saw it on a bunch of tech blogs. One of her friends had leaked the photo. She was disappointed. She knew that she shouldn’t post anything online, if she wasn’t comfortable with it going viral, but she didn’t think her friends would betray her trust.
“In our real lives, we have three levels of privacy – we have things that are super private for us and our spouses, things that are super public like announcing a new career move, but most of our life, the vast majority, lives in the middle, it’s personal,” Zuckerberg said.
“But online you really only get private and public, you lose personal and we live so much of our lives in there,” she said.
In the book, she wrote about how to get that back and what happens when a person loses that.

Being a leader in a world filled with social media

Photo courtesy of Zuckerberg Media

Photo courtesy of Zuckerberg Media

Zuckerberg also discussed the different generations of management in the workforce. Older workers tend to be more conservative and don’t share as much and millennial workers feel comfortable sharing their lives online, Forbes said. But now more than ever, being authentic is increasingly important to building a following, to getting people inspired by your mission and to becoming an effective leader, Forbes said.
The professional and personal identities have been blended, Zuckerberg said. Companies need to provide social media training to their employees when they hire them, she said.
Millennials want to be posting all the time, Zuckerberg said
“It’s better to arm them with things that they should be posting about rather than letting their imaginations run wild,” she said.
Today, every single employee is an ambassador for your brand, Forbes said.
And every company is a media company, Zuckerberg said.
That can be quite a challenge, Zuckerberg said. She’s had some awkward conversations with people about things that they’ve posted that she never thought she would have to have.
“People have freedom of speech,” she said. “You can’t tell them don’t post things on Twitter, nor would you want to govern who they are. That’s why you hired them in the first place.”
But data does show that it makes you more likeable if you share personal things online and Facebook friend your boss, Zuckerberg said.

Etiquette lessons learned along the way

Forbes asked Zuckerberg about the toughest online social etiquette lesson she had to learn.
Zuckerberg recounted a time when she and her friends couldn’t get into a bar in New York because they didn’t look cool enough.
“I desperately wanted to be so cool even though I was a Silicon Valley geek and we got rejected from this really cool bar. It sucked,” she said.
Twitter had just launched as a platform. She took out her mobile phone and she tweeted wouldn’t it be bad if that bouncer’s Facebook profile went down.
“Wow, really bad thing to say, very irresponsible and the tech press really took me to storm about that,” Zuckerberg said. “It was ironic because I had been spending the last few years educating celebrities, politicians and business leaders about how all of our voices travel faster and farther than ever thanks to this megaphone of social media. But what I hadn’t realized, I hadn’t stepped back and thought, gosh, I have a megaphone too. All of us are sort of mini-celebrities in this world. All of us could go viral at any moment.”
Everyone needs to be very vigilant about their reputations and how they manage social media, Zuckerberg said.

Unplugging from technology

Forbes asked Zuckerberg about managing the constant flow of technology and doing “digital detoxes,” in which people disconnect from their devices.
People are connecting around the clock and people must set boundaries on their own personal time.
“Set some firm rules,” Zuckerberg said. “The more you start setting those rules, the more you’ll train the people around you to respect those times too.”
She has a rule in her house: no tech in the bedroom.
She also said studies show that people who don’t connect with technology whether it’s Facebook, their mobile phone, texts, email, voicemail, first thing in the morning, are happier. She said it’s best to manage the technology and not let it manage your life. She avoids her mobile phone for the first 40 minutes of every day.
“All devices have a curfew in our house for that reason,” she said. “You need that moment of clarity and unplugging in your day.”

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