5 Lessons From Yesterday's Facebook Town Hall*

April 20, 2011 - a historic day. The President of the United States sat down to do a live chat with the public, with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg as moderator. (What a brand coup for FB, with that big banner sign...)

Normally impatient, I happily sat in front of the computer waiting for it to start. I was literally clapping at how cool it was.

I "checked in" and watched for a few minutes - the intro speeches by Sheryl Sandberg and question #1. Read the comments in the chat alongside. Here are my key takeaways:

1. People LOVE interacting with the govt. on social media. But their expectations are high and they are vocal if disappointed.

2. You can trust the audience to self-correct members of the community who are rude, inappropriate, etc.

3. Suit and tie on Facebook looks overdressed.

4. Q and A must be very short. Quantity better than perfect quality answer. Need to find balance in answers between simple and substantive.

5. Need to get to the point, fast - intro of prominent audience members could be done at the end.

Overall I thought the President was pretty brave to put himself out there like that. (I am not sure I could handle the spotlight, the pressure, and the criticism.) I respect the effort and look forward to seeing others follow in his footsteps.

Who knows...one day we could be watching town halls with life-size 3D holographic avatars!

The future of communication is all about social interaction - emotional intelligence - played out on a digital stage.

What did YOU think?


*Note: I work for the government but all opinions, as always, are my own.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.