January 13th, 2011 by CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego)

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…… 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” 


  1. Mack Collier Says:

    What a great post on Chanelle, Caroline! And Chanelle if I were you I would restart #GenYChat. Maybe pick a night during the middle of the week, I don’t think there’s quite as much chat competition on Weds and Thurs.

    A big reason why #Blogchat took off was because I already had a big network on Twitter in place and could simply point them toward it. If I didn’t start with that network, it would have taken a LOT longer to grow #Blogchat.

    It just takes a lot of time to build a Twitter chat. And if you could build up #GenYChat to a respectable level, it would do WONDERS to speak to your ability to develop communities via social media tools ;)

  2. CathyWebSavvyPR Says:

    @Casudi, thanks for calling my attention to this great interview post of our mutual friend Chanelle Schneider, AKA @WriterChanelle. I enjoyed learning more about her here. I believe she and I “met” on Twitter around the time she was the guest on the #SmallBizChat twitter chat of which I was co-host.

    I have since connected with her a number of times on a number of topics/activities as well as having attended her #GenYchat ( for info). We also brainstorm from time to time about inter-generational, small business and/or social media topics via Skype, and I brought her in on a client project when I needed an extra pare of capable hands. I really like Chanelle’s energy and work ethic – she goes the extra mile – and I like the work I’ve seen her do too. I also had fun live tweeting, working and hanging out with her at Network Solution’s Grow Smart Biz conference in DC this fall too.

    I didn’t know she was interested in the film/TV/entertainment industry, so I will keep an eye out for connections I can send her way. Although do I know that whatever company/industry/community, that scoops up Chanelle will get a very intelligent, thoughtful and upbeat community manager, or whatever slot the company and Chanelle find that is a match.

    Cathy Larkin, Founder
    .-= CathyWebSavvyPR´s last blog ..Why Do We Blog =-.

  3. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Mack, the really good news is Chanelle did exactly that. She started up the chat again on Wednesday evenings and said further down in my post “On the other hand, #GenYchat just got to over 800 followers after 1 year, and I am extremely pleased with that” ~ I guess I should have made that stand out more :-) Thanks so much for your comment and continuing support.

  4. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Cathy…….. so true that you don’t know the half of it until you do an interview, an ideal one that is! I am optimistic that the power of Social Media is going to come through for Chanelle; she has proven herself to be a contributor and implementer and there are many who have benefited from her community and will continue to do so. Thanks so much for commenting.

  5. Karen E. Lund Says:

    Wonderful interview with Chanelle–or, as many of us know her, @WriterChanelle. Her #GenYChat is excellent, and it’s not limited to Gen Y.

    I first “met” (in a virtual sense) Chanelle and Jillian (@OneJillian) at a #TweetDiner chat. We got into a conversation about generalizations and stereotypes and how misleading they can be, whether about Generation Y (them) or Boomers (me). We chatted way past the end of #TweetDiner and picked up again the following morning.

    They invited me to join a #GenYChat, which I did, and I’ve been back again. (I don’t make it every week–sometimes we have to let the young folks venture out on their own, right? Besides, my schedule interfered.) Chanelle and Jillian and the other GenYs have given me some great ideas. They have a different perspective on things and make me re-think some assumptions about how I’ve been doing things for years, not considering how circumstances (especially in the online/technology world) change.
    .-= Karen E. Lund´s last blog ..ICT on the Global Stage- Part 2 – Haiti =-.

  6. Lisa Petrilli Says:


    Beautiful interview of Chanelle and I’m extremely pleased to know how fabulous your interview with MENG screener Francey Smith was. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for bringing Chanelle’s insights to life!

    I plan to share a link to your post with the MENGonline community. :)

    All the very best,


  7. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Karen, I really enjoyed the exchange of ideas with you when we met on #GenYchat. Your continuing participation really does prove Chanelle’s idea works and does facilitate a very important ingredient to bring about understanding between the boom, X,Y,Z categories (I don’t really like categories as I have never been able to fit into them :-) The #GenYchat community allows people to do just that, be themselves without labels. I think it is a surprise for the GenY that the boomers are in fact real people. Thank you for your contribution to #GenYchat and for commenting here.

  8. Chanelle Says:

    Mack – Thank you for taking notice of this post and for commenting. I hope to continue to build #genychat to a respectable level. Lol.

    Cathy – Thank you so much. It’s your generosity that really matters. Thank you for being the person that you are and making it fun to participate in #smallbizchat. And, I’m grateful to you for getting me the opportunity to attend GrowSmartBiz.

  9. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Lisa, this is really amazing and both Chanelle and I thank you so very much. A company who needs to get up to speed fast, building a community around their brand will be very fortunate to have Chanelle, who has both the ”fail” and the “success” credential in social media. What is very important is she understood when it wasn’t working, regrouped and made it work!

    I am finding the magic of MENG very energizing and am extremely grateful to you personally for your sponsorship of me and now for helping Chanelle.

    Let’s cross-pollinate #leadershipchat & #GenYchat sometime in the future :-)

  10. Chanelle Says:

    Karen – You know it’s you that makes our exchanges great. You’ve always had an open mind and don’t believe the bad press about GenY in the same way that I don’t believe the negative assumptions about GenX and Boomers. We all have a lot to learn from each other, and I’m glad #GenYChat is bringing value to you.

    Lisa – It is really kind of you to share this interview with the MENG community. Thank you!

  11. Mark Babbitt Says:

    “She will work hard to make a difference; to facilitate development, growth, and positive change for any group or company she works for…”

    It has been my pleasure to work directly with Chanelle on several projects, including “Hired for the Holidays” – and I couldn’t agree more.

    When Chanelle and I first connected on Twitter – through #GenYChat, of course – I thought “This one’s a superstar.” I was right. An engaging, thoughtful host and communicator through social media, Chanelle is also charming and confident in person. I thoroughly enjoy our mutually-beneficial mentor relationship – and have learned a great deal from Chanelle’s experience, and coaching.

    Caroline, what a terrific interview – thank you for sharing!

  12. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    That was a “superstar” comment, Mark and thank you for adding just another layer to my interview.

    Posting a real interview & commenting by others with occasional “underlining” on twitter to help people to really get to know Chanelle, seems so much more “real” then sending a two page PDF of black text. This is especially appropriate for someone who is actually making social networking and community building work. Just imagine how many people were in fact present at the interview today! I get the feeling I may have designed an actual working model, social media resume :-)

  13. Mark W Schaefer Says:

    Blockbuster post Caroline. This idea of community and the evolution of community is fascinating to me. Have been thinking a lot about so this is a post I’ll bookmark and reference for some time. Thank you!
    .-= Mark W Schaefer´s last blog ..A PR 20 Success Story- How I Became a Mommy Blogger =-.

  14. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Mark, I am extremely interested in your continuing insight and yes I do think an interview like this falls under “evolution” of community. I would like to see a community of bloggers (like yourself) doing an occasional interview, posting it on your blog and having it on the REAL interview website, where potential employers can go to get a way better sense of many of the talented people out there, often in new areas of expertise like #sm, who don’t fit the usual mold and where the traditional resumes don’t really tell their dynamic story. Maybe Chanelle should consider web hosting interviews for her community demographic? And maybe MENG is the place for the high profile marketers? In other words each community would take care of it’s own.

    This whole idea interests me as I have never had a traditional CV and don’t have anything but the REAL Life MBA either. I have always had those who gave me an opportunity; and very often based on an interview. Thank you for your comment which has inspired me to ramble on a bit :-)

  15. Amanda Pouchot Says:

    As a newbie to Twitter, I was very excited to see #genychat and be able to connect with others trying to help out this generation!

    I love and agree with the discussion above on Empathy – “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.” I think that people often forget how powerful it is to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand where they are coming from in order to understand why they may or may not do something or act in a certain way.

  16. Patrick Prothe Says:

    Caroline – what a wonderful interview and provides a much richer perspective on Chanelle highlighting the wonderful person I’ve come to know only via Twitter. And now must dive into her writing. I really connected with her starts and stops on her blog – I’ve done the same and am making a concerted effort myself to keep going – and get out of my own way.

    Chanelle – this interview demonstrates why you’ll be so incredibly valuable to whomever hires you. I appreciate your approach to building community and problem solving. And look forward to connecting further.

    This interview makes me smile – Thanks!

    All the best to you both!
    .-= Patrick Prothe´s last blog ..Whose identity is it anyway =-.

  17. Elli St.George Godfrey Says:


    What a wonderful interview of one of my favorite people on Twitter! One of the things I most admire about Chanelle is how she takes an idea and runs with it! Her willingness to act on her curiosity is so much fun!

    Due to her observational abilities and knowledge about Gen Y and other generations made her an excellent guest host on #kaizenblog. She is able to combine an ease in interacting with other people and humor that supports learning and wanting to know more.

    Chanelle deserves the attention she receives from this interview!

  18. Chanelle Says:

    Mark B. – Aww….you know I appreciate our conversations. Here’s to the future!

    Mark S. – Hmmm…interesting idea. This is evolving into a bit of a living interview. Maybe instead of a cover letter or a resume, employers could be pointed to an interview such as this. I’m just thinking out loud, but it is an interesting idea, especially for people who the ATS would drop but might be a good fit.

    Amanda – Empathy is huge for me. Many times people are experiencing an emotion that has nothing to do with the one they’re displaying. It makes a big difference when you take the extra step to care. I’m so glad you found the chat. One of the things I love about #genychat has been its organic growth. It means the most to me when people find it and enjoy the time spent with each other, so I hope you get a lot out of it.

    Patrick – I’m very glad we’ve been able to chat via Twitter. I think we share a lot of the same feelings about social media, so I appreciate that this made you smile. Everybody goes through ups and downs in life, but the turbulence makes us stronger for the journey. It makes us better people, too. Thank you for sharing.

    Elli – What can I say? I’m still humbled by you asking me to co-host. Little old me just asks questions that I hope stimulate conversations. Thank you for keeping #kaizenblog going.

  19. Karen E. Lund Says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Caroline and Chanelle.

    It’s very easy to understand the error in stereotypes about Gen Y (or anyone else) when I see some of the silly things said about Boomers.

    Sure, generalizations are useful; but if we forget that they are just that and mistake them for hard fact, we err. That’s especially true when considering things like social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) that are so new and changing rapidly. Even in more established areas there will always be outliers who don’t fit into neat demographic pigeonholes.

    As for keeping an open mind, the alternative is to live in a world dominated by Compuserve and IBM Selectrics. What fun would that be? As one who’s seen many new & shiny things come and go (eight-track and Betamax to name two) I might be a bit more skeptical about the staying power of the next big thing–but that doesn’t mean I won’t check it out.
    .-= Karen E. Lund´s last blog ..ICT on the Global Stage- Part 2 – Haiti =-.

  20. Chanelle Says:

    Karen – Exactly! There is so much written about the generations that is praying on the desire to derive happiness from other people’s misery. Some of the articles are written with such contempt that it makes me question the writer’s motivations. Meanwhile, others are clearly written to be sensationalist and drive pageviews. To each his own, I suppose.

    Social media certainly has a lot of shiny new toys come and go – Quora to name one. It was languishing in the background then boom. It will be interesting to see if it’s the tortoise or the hare. Rather, the Betamax or the VHS in this scenario.

  21. CASUDI Says:

    I am adding the following VERY interesting Question and the link to the Answers from QUORA. Please enjoy.

    What one question do you always ask applicants in a job interview and why?

  22. Inclined to Design Says:

    […] THE IDEAL INTERVIEW ………soon I will be writing the logical follow on post……………. THE IDEAL JOB. Stay tuned. […]

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