(Image by Brian Solis on Flickr)
Today during the Mark Zuckerberg keynote at SXSW, a compelling thing happened. Zuck was interviewed by author and BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy, and meanwhile, all sorts of chatter and criticism (mostly directed at Lacy’s interview style) was happening among audience members via various back channels such as Twitter and Meebo.
The silently-brewing revolt finally came to a head when Lacy mentioned the infamous Lesley Stahl interview a second time in response to Zuckerberg answering only with one-word responses, and Zuckerberg quipped: “You have to ask questions.” An overjoyed cheer erupted from the mob – hundreds of angry monkeys who seemingly felt jilted out of a keynote conversation. By the end of the interview, Sarah Lacy’s frustration with the Twitter Mob was evident.
Lacy: “Could somebody send me a message and tell me how I sucked so badly?”
Audience member, into the mic: “Check Twitter.”
Actually, this was the second time mob rule took over at SXSW this week – it also happened at the metrics panel on day two. This backlash is really less about Mark Zuckerberg and Sarah Lacy, and is totally a microcosm of what happens every day within disruptive social mediums, whether it’s a blogger calling out bad customer service at Dell, or a Taco Bell patron posting a video of rats running around the kitchen on YouTube.
The tools are at our disposal, so corporations and institutions must be prepared for disruption and know how to respond.
UPDATE / 6:44 pm: Jesse from BitStrips sent this comic to me: