It really all comes down to asking, and being asked, the right questions. Also true in problem solving and even in online twitter chats!
So what defines the right interview questions? Recently I was interviewed by Francey Smith, a director at MENG, and it was actually a surprise when she suggested I not prepare anything, so I ‘thought spontaneous’, like a live radio interview; years ago I loved doing radio interviews. Francey knew what she wanted to find out, and allowed the flow of the questions to evolve logically & naturally. Her questions were not limited only to my experiences, but my opinions, past & present, and those I have about the future. She also shared her views, and It was a thoroughly enjoyable interchange in all respects. Thank you Francey!
What do I want to ask Chanelle Schneider, known as @writerchanelle on twitter? She is looking for meaningful employment; where she can contribute her writing talents, and social networking and community building expertise. She will work hard to make a difference; to facilitate development, growth, and positive change for any group or company she works for.
CASUDI: What do you think is the best part of working in a group or on a team?
Chanelle: The best part of working as a team is sharing opinions that will guide a project to completion. Everyone has different talents and skills that are useful. If I feel that an idea needs a fresh perspective, I ask questions that get people to look at the idea from a different angle. “I am good at researching and asking the right questions”
I’m interested in the generational twitter chat you founded; #GenYchat; tell me how it evolved….how did you build the chat community?
Well, #GenYchat had two phases – one that didn’t work and one that did
The one that didn’t work started in November 2009. I asked people I already knew if they would like to participate in a chat that cut across generations. They said yes, so I set a time based on their availabilities and set up the questions. The chats were Sunday nights at 7pm. I should have known not to host a chat on a Sunday night prior to #blogchat when it would likely pull from the same crowd. I tried different days and times, but after several attempts, participation was fading, so I put the chat on hiatus in January 2010.
I left the @GenYchat account up with a note in the bio area stating that the chat was on hiatus. Instead of holding chats, I just spoke to people through the account. I reached out to a broader network of people. Almost anyone who mentioned something about GenY, GenX, or Boomers got a mention from me.
I also listed #GenYchat on the twitter chat spreadsheet, which resulted in bringing attention to it.
Even with the chat on hiatus were you considering whether to make another go of it?
I always kept my eye on the #GenYchat tag to see if anyone other than me was using it. One night in March I noticed a couple of people say they were here for #GenYchat. I responded to them and told them it was on hiatus and would start again when there was more interest. They thought the chat was a great idea and took it upon themselves to help promote #GenYchat.
After I noticed a good amount of people had interest in starting the chat up, we had our second phase in May and have been going ever since. I’m very pleased with how we’ve been progressing.
I’d say that no one person has been the cause of the chat’s success. Not even my ability to network would have mattered if people didn’t find a sense of camaraderie in the chat. I know how to ask questions that people will answer in a real way; and, I try to avoid asking questions that prevent people from opening up. The kind of questions that can be answered by reciting a line from a blog post, those are good for RT’s, (retweeting or broadcasing) but #GenYchat has always been about the conversation and getting to a deeper truth.
Yes, I’m not good at talking about myself. LOL! I never have been yet I interact with adults well, I probably should be more intimidated by adults, but I’ve always grown up around more adults than kids. And, Twitter has taught me that we are all just people. I’m guessing, but the biggies like Mack Collier or Chris Brogan don’t want fans coming at them requesting things of them; they want real people with real ideas and genuine appreciation.
When working with or in a group and things get off track, what then?
That depends on the mood in the room. If people are arguing, I turn off the lights and get everyone’s attention. Then, I help them realize why we were in the meeting in the first place. If the goal can’t be met at that point in time, I suggest coming back to the topic at a different time.
If the mood is calm and people are just off track, I announce how much time we have left for the tasks and bring us back on focus.
How do you get them back on focus?
Reminding the group of the task at hand has always worked for me. They listen to me because I am reasonable, logical, keep my cool and don’t put up with any nonsense!
Would you share your biggest challenge and how you ultimately resolved it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had has been getting out of my own way. Somewhere deep down I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, but I pushed this down to do things that would make other people proud of me. I had a strong desire to please people. I actually started my blog in 2006. I wrote one post and abandoned it because I was scared that people would think I was a terrible writer.
In December 2007 I was forced to leave school. I was home for a year with time on my hands outside of my jobs. I started writing to see if I could earn a passive income on sites like Associated Content (2008). When that didn’t work the way I expected, I stopped again. Then, I joined Twitter in March 2009, the same month #blogchat started, and saw that a lot of people were blogging and had lots of questions.
I remember when you started on twitter,guest hosted #smallbizchat in fact and you had a very distinctive avatar; just your eyes and glasses, bright blue. So what happened next?
I started up again with a new blog in May 2009. Finding that chat helped give me the push to start blogging again. When the #fixreplies issue was all over Twitter, I had a reason to post something.
Being on Twitter gave me the initial push, but it didn’t keep me blogging. I stopped a couple times for a couple months at a time. I got in my own way again and stopped believing in my ability when my blog wasn’t getting the response I had hoped for. I also wasn’t getting the jobs I had hoped for, either.
So what changed? Why did the scales tip from negative to positive?
The work I had done building the community came back to me ….I draw on support from others who believed I had a good idea and so we moved forward. About the same time I found my motivation and I wrote about my own path and where I am meant to be. I became very serious about my writing and networking with people on twitter. Twitter is like that ……you can network with anyone……. network isn’t the really right word……..as it has other meanings…… associations.
I think networking on twitter might be better stated as communication w/o boundaries ……an unlimited idea exchange.
I call it a virtual human experience, virtual but very real. I’ve met people, got jobs from it…….made friends…….
So with this in mind how did you grow your community?
Success on social media (building a community) means different things to different people. I am of the opinion that growth should happen strategically yet organically.
On one hand, I’ve taken my blog There From Here from being ranked above one million to under 400,000 in two months. There From Here is where I often write on the topic of adult internships and other career and life advice for Generation Y, with a specific focus on non-graduates, the students who had to leave school but didn’t drop out.
On the other hand, #GenYchat just got to over 800 followers after 1 year, and I am extremely pleased with that.
What quality is most important to you in someone you work with?
Empathy. It’s being sensitive to other people’s issues. I need to work with people who consider other people’s feelings, life situations, and understand the work/life balance.
To me an empathic person could be one who lets you be as you are and not try to change you into something you are not, is this what you mean?
In part. If I receive feedback along the way to know if I am headed in the right direction, I am willing to go beyond, even way beyond what I think I can do. What I don’t want is for someone to tell me my natural hair must be straightened at all times. I don’t want someone to dismiss my core beliefs just to make me into someone they think the world will accept more. I’ve done that and it worked out terribly for me.
I can really relate to the hair issue. I had a mother, who during my very early years was unable to accept a ” tomboy” daughter with very straight hair. Everyday she curled my hair trying to turn me into the “blond darling” I was not. (See below Casudi as her mother wanted her to be)
You seem to be very much your own person, so what would your ideal job be?
Full time, and being paid for something I enjoy doing. My ideal job is working in Entertainment Marketing, specifically in the film/music/TV industry.
I have heard people call you quite an expert in building and guiding the community around the chat you founded, how would you use that?
Other people have called me an expert, but I wouldn’t. I learn quickly and take action on what I’ve learned.
I’d like to be responsible for building a community around a sitcom or movie that creates a serious paradigm shift in our culture. Using social networking to promote would come with managing the communities. You have to engage the audience before the TV show, or film comes out. You have to give people a reason to talk. Let them be the brand ambassadors.
If a film company didn’t already have a presence but wanted to use social media to promote a film, I would establish an account and follow people who were into movies. I would find them by searching Twitter for keywords that relate to the industry. I’m very experienced with keyword searches. In addition to targeting keywords for blog posts, I grew #GenYchat by using TweetDeck’s columns to generate and save keyword searches. People won’t instantly start following the account just because I follow them, though. Not the quality followers, anyway. So, I would also highlight relevant content from the Internet, share stories, participate in certain industry chats, and make sure to be someone worth following.
You know, I could do the very same for your new foundation Bank-On-Rain……until you produce another movie, of course.
And what did Chanelle want to know about me? “Have you ever been recruited or found yourself in a position where you questioned whether you were qualified for it?”, “Did your family ever push you to take a job in a field you’re not interested in?” and “What do you do if someone asks for a referral or recommendation when you don’t think they’re qualified for the job?” I see these are questions for the community at There from Here, and I’ll be answering them soon.
Did I miss asking Chanelle a question? Probably many, but how did I do? Is there something else you would like to know about Chanelle, ask her?
Building Bridges Between People ~ Designing Success
images: Chanelle©Chanelle Schneider and CASUDI©Lisa Gobell from the book “The House in the Sun”