My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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spectacle at Web2.0 Expo… from my perspective

Last week, I gave a talk at Web2.0 Expo. From my perspective, I did a dreadful job at delivering my message. Yet, the context around my talk sparked a broad conversation about the implications of turning the backchannel into part of the frontchannel. In the last week, I’ve seen all sorts of blog posts and tweets and news articles about what went down. At this point, the sting has worn off and I feel that it would be responsible to offer my own perspective of what happened.

First, context. Web2.0 Expo is an expensive conference filled with all sorts of webby types, entrepreneurs, and business folks interested in technological development. It’s a conference known for great talks by high profile people. Most of the talks are pretty conversational in nature – there are plenty of staged interviews and casual presentations.

Because of the high profile nature of Web2.0 Expo, I decided to write a brand new talk. Personally, I love the challenge and I get bored of giving the same talk over and over and over again. Of course, the stump speech is much more fluid, much more guaranteed. But new talks force folks to think differently and guarantee that I target those who hear me talk often and those who have never seen me talk before.

A week before the conference, I received word from the organizers that I was not going to have my laptop on stage with me. The dirty secret is that I actually read a lot of my talks but the audience doesn’t actually realize this because scanning between my computer and the audience is usually pretty easy. So it doesn’t look like I’m reading. But without a laptop on stage, I have to rely on paper. I pushed back, asked to get my notes on the screen in front of me, but was told that this wasn’t going to be possible. I was told that I was going to have a podium. So I resigned to having a podium. Again, as an academic, I’ve learned to read from podiums without folks fully realizing that I am reading.

When I showed up at the conference, I realized that the setup was different than I imagined. The podium was not angled, meaning that the paper would lie flat, making it harder to read and get away with it. Not good. But I figured that I knew the talk well enough to not sweat it.

I only learned about the Twitter feed shortly before my talk. I didn’t know whether or not it was filtered. I also didn’t get to see the talks by the previous speakers so I didn’t know anything about what was going up on the screen.

When I walked out on stage, I was also in for a new shock: the lights were painfully bright. The only person I could see in the “audience” was James Duncan Davidson who was taking photographs. Otherwise, it was complete white-out. Taken aback by this, my talk started out rough.

Now, normally, I get into a flow with my talks after about 2 minutes. The first two minutes are usually painfully rushed and have no rhythm as I work out my nerves, but then I start to flow. I’ve adjusted to this over the years by giving myself 2 minutes of fluff text to begin with, content that sets the stage but can be ignored. And then once I’m into a talk, I gel with the audience. But this assumes one critical thing: that I can see the audience. I’m used to audiences who are staring at their laptops, but I’m not used to being completely blinded.

Well, I started out rough, but I was also totally off-kilter. And then, within the first two minutes, I started hearing rumblings. And then laughter. The sounds were completely irrelevant to what I was saying and I was devastated. I immediately knew that I had lost the audience. Rather than getting into flow and becoming an entertainer, I retreated into myself. I basically decided to read the entire speech instead of deliver it. I counted for the time when I could get off stage. I was reading aloud while thinking all sorts of terrible thoughts about myself and my failures. I wasn’t even interested in my talk. All I wanted was to get it over with. I didn’t know what was going on but I kept hearing sounds that made it very clear that something was happening behind me that was the focus of everyone’s attention. The more people rumbled, the worse my headspace got and the worse my talk became. I fed on the response I got from the audience in the worst possible way. Rather than the audience pushing me to become a better speaker, it was pushing me to get worse. I hated the audience. I hated myself. I hated the situation. I wanted off. And so I talked through my talk, finishing greater than 2 minutes ahead of schedule because all I wanted was to be finished. And then I felt guilty so I made shit up for a whole minute and left the stage with 1 minute to spare.

I walked off stage and immediately went to Brady and asked what on earth was happening. And he gave me a brief rundown. The Twitter stream was initially upset that I was talking too fast. My first response to this was: OMG, seriously? That was it? Cuz that’s not how I read the situation on stage. So rather than getting through to me that I should slow down, I was hearing the audience as saying that I sucked. And responding the exact opposite way the audience wanted me to. This pushed the audience to actually start critiquing me in the way that I was imagining it was. And as Brady went on, he said that it started to get really rude so they pulled it to figure out what to do. But this distracted the audience and explains one set of outbursts that I didn’t understand from the stage. And then they put it back up and people immediately started swearing. More outbursts and laughter. The Twitter stream had become the center of attention, not the speaker. Not me.

Yes, I cried. Yes, I left Web2.0 Expo devastated. I hate giving a bad talk but I also felt like I was being laughed at. People tried to smooth it over, to tell me that I was OK, that it wouldn’t matter, that they liked the talk. But no amount of niceness from friends or strangers could make up for the 20 minutes in which I was misinterpreting the audience and berating myself. Nothing the audience could say could make up for what I was thinking about myself while on stage. So I went for a massage. And I spent 90 minutes trying to tell myself that I am a lovable creature. And when that wasn’t working, I told myself to suck it up and deal. I knew that if I could convince myself to look like everything was OK that eventually I would believe it. Or at least that it would all go away.

Being on stage involves raw emotions. I have never gotten over the rawness of it all. I no longer vomit before every talk (although I used to) but my stomach does try to do the macarena. Or, more likely, the ridiculous dance done by 80s hair bands as they thrash about. I can’t eat before I give a talk. And I visit the bathroom a bazillion times. Even when I’m brilliant on stage, I’m nervous as hell. But it’s also emotionally and physically exhausting. I walk off the stage high as a kite and then, two hours later, crash. Giving talks drains me. It’s brutal to try to publicly convey information, to be the center of attention. I much much much prefer to be the one observing than the one speaking. But I feel like giving talks is important. So I speak. But it ain’t easy. And so when I walk off a stage not feeling invigorated, all I get is the raw drain, the gut-wrenching, nauseating feeling of pure misery. 20 minutes of being punched in the face, kicked in the stomach, and the shameful sensations one gets when one is forced to watch a Lars von Trier film. That’s how I felt at Web2.0 Expo.

So…. the Backchannel?

Now that you’ve been forced to read my inner neuroses on public display, let’s talk about making the backchannel the frontchannel. First off, let’s be clear: I could not and did not see the Twitter stream from stage. Nothing was conveyed to me until the end. The stream was not a way for the audience to communicate to the speaker, but for the audience to communicate with itself. Lots of folks have talked about making the stream available to the speaker. Have any of you seen ustream? This is filled with “speakers” reading the stream and it’s very choppy. There’s no way that a speaker can simultaneously consume a stream and convey a message. Sure, a message every 30 seconds or so, no problem. But a stream? No way. And certainly not a long message… and, on stage, 140 characters is long.

Let me highlight a comment that Dan from HonestlyKid.net left on my blog earlier this week:

It seems that the more subtle the speaker’s point, the more impatient and nasty the audience became. While it’s easy enough to blame the new tech in the room for this shoddy behavior, I’m not sure we’re seeing anything new at all here. It certainly didn’t feel new to me from where I sat. Consider the recent Town Hall meetings around health care – substantive discussions of important issues were subsumed in cat calls and shouted rumors.

That said, having participated in this bad behavior, I noticed something else about the way it felt to put something on that wall. The twitterwall subverted twitter’s more symmetric conversation model of communication. Posting to the wall was like creating and sharing a public secret about the speaker (a little like political grafiti except it wasn’t anonymous).

The wall made a spectacle of the crowd’s impatience and anxiety feeding on the speaker’s inability to respond. That spectacle united us not as a single group receiving challenging ideas from a thoughtful orator but as quite separate individuals struggling to listen, read, respond, and make sense of the event. We moved from web conference to twitter circus.

I think that Dan nailed it. I think that the backchannel is perfectly reasonable as a frontchannel when the speaker is trying to entertain, but when the goal is to convey something with depth, it encourages people to be impatient and frustrated, to feed on the speaker. There’s a least common denominator element to it. I was not at Web2.0 Expo to entertain, but to inform. Yes, I can be an entertaining informant, but there’s a huge gap between the kind of information that Baratunde tries to convey in his comedic format and what I’m trying to convey in a more standard one. And there’s no doubt I packed too much information into a 20 minute talk, but my role is fundamentally to challenge audiences to think. That’s the whole point of bringing a scholar to the stage. But if the audience doesn’t want to be challenged, they tune out or walk out. Yet, with a Twitter stream, they have a third option: they can take over.

The problem with a public-facing Twitter stream in events like this is that it FORCES the audience to pay attention the backchannel. So even audience members who want to focus on the content get distracted. Most folks can’t multitask that well. And even if I had been slower and less dense, my talks are notoriously too content-filled to make multi-tasking possible for the multi-tasking challenged. This is precisely why I use very simplistic slides that evokes images for the visual types in the room without adding another layer of content. But the Twitter stream fundamentally adds another layer of content that the audience can’t ignore, that I can’t control. And that I cannot even see.

Now, I’m AOK with not having complete control of the audience during a talk, but it requires a fundamentally different kind of talk. That was not what I prepared for at all. Had I known about the Twitter stream, I would’ve given a more pop-y talk that would’ve bored anyone who has heard me speak before and provided maybe 3-4 nuggets of information for folks to chew on. It would’ve been funny and quotable but it wouldn’t have been content-wise memorable. Perhaps that would’ve made more sense? Realistically though, those kinds of talks bore me at this point. So I probably would’ve opted not to give a talk at all. Perhaps I’m not the kind of speaker you want if you want a Twitter stream? But regardless, what I do know is that certain kinds of talks do not lend themselves to that kind of dynamic. I would *NEVER* have given my talk on race and class in such a setting. I shudder to think about how the racist language people used when I gave that talk would’ve been perceived on the big screen.

Speaking of which… what’s with the folks who think it’s cool to objectify speakers and talk about them as sexual objects? The worst part of backchannels for me is being forced to remember that there are always guys out there who simply see me as a fuckable object. Sure, writing crass crap on public whiteboards is funny… if you’re 12. But why why why spend thousands of dollars to publicly objectify women just because you can? This is the part that makes me angry.

Now, I don’t mind being critiqued. I think that being a public figure automatically involves that. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years, but there are still things that get to me. And the situation at Web2.0 Expo was one of those. Part of the problem for me is that, as a speaker, I work hard to try to create a conversation with the audience. When it’s not possible or when I do a poor job, it sucks. But it also really sucks to just be the talking head as everyone else is having a conversation literally behind your back. It makes you feel like a marionette. And frankly, if that’s what public speaking is going to be like, I’m out.

I don’t want to be objectified when I’m speaking – either as a talking head or a sexual toy. I want to inspire, to invite you to think, to spark creative thoughts in your head. At Web2.0 Expo, I failed. And I failed publicly. I’m still licking my wounds. But I can take the fall. I can’t take the idea that this is the future.

So I have a favor to ask… I am going to be giving a bunch of public speaking performances at web conferences in the next couple of months: Supernova and Le Web in December, SXSW in March, WWW in April. I will do my darndest to give new, thought-provoking talks that will leave your brain buzzing. I will try really really hard to speak slowly. But in return, please come with some respect. Please treat me like a person, not an object. Come to talk with me, not about me. I’m ready and willing to listen, but I need you to be as well. And if you don’t want to listen, fine, don’t. But please don’t distract your neighbors with crude remarks. Let’s make public speaking and public listening an art form. Maybe that’s too much to ask for, but really, I need to feel like it’s worth it again.

For those looking for the text of my Web2.0 Expo talk, it’s here: “Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media.”

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236 comments to spectacle at Web2.0 Expo… from my perspective

  • Danah,

    Thanks very much for opening up and sharing this personal experience, gutsy, bold and beautiful. I agree with your observation that the format can rapidly deteriorate into a “twitter circus”. This can become more of a disconnected sideshow competing for the audience than something that adds value. Event organizers take note please.

    Most of us will be sitting their absorbing, being inspired and taking notes (and perhaps launch a few quick inspirational tweets).

    LOVE the crib of your talk, deep and insightful.
    You have a new fan and follower. Keep up the great work!

  • Your advice is spot on. It’s really unfortunate that the audience was disrespectful. We all have our moments. Hang in there! I really admire that you’re so candid about your experience and could find such valuable takeaways.

    I’ll be at Supernova next week. I hope we get a chance to meet up!

    Crystal Y.
    Trilingual Chinese-American 17 year old Social Entrepreneur, Blogger, Graphic Designer.
    http://www.crystalyan.weebly.com

  • danah – I’m so sorry to have read about your ordeal at Web2.0 and the unprofessional treatment that was accorded, starting from the mis-information about the conditions in which you were to speak, followed by the inexplicable choice to make a backchannel one that speaker had no ability to even eavesdrop into. A backchannel cannot enrich anything if it’s privileged to only one group in a dynamic interaction.

    But most importantly, I am humbled by your candor, insight, and thoughtfulness to take such an emotionally painful experience and turn it into yet another carefully considered, rich and reflective expression. And I’m very proud to be a member of the community you have chosen to identify with. It is a gift to all us.

    deeply appreciative,
    Phil

  • Bravo for talking about this in your usual insightful way.

    I’ve been teaching a class at Bainbridge Graduate Institute on “Using the Social Web for Social Change”. The school is unique because it is offers an environmental and social responsibility MBA program. Your videos, papers, and post have been part of curriculum all quarter long, and you are becoming a hero to my students.

    Besides your points about the backchannel, overall I really appreciate that you are sharing a construtive “post-mortem” look at the experience, which is exactly one of the things I’m trying to teach my students. There is huge value from learning from failure, and if you can share it in such as way as that others can learn from it, even more value.

    Thanks again!

    — Christopher Allen

  • Bravo for talking about this in your usual insightful way.

    I’ve been teaching a class at Bainbridge Graduate Institute on “Using the Social Web for Social Change”. The school is unique because it is offers an environmental and social responsibility MBA program. Your videos, papers, and post have been part of curriculum all quarter long, and you are becoming a hero to my students.

    Besides your points about the backchannel, overall I really appreciate that you are sharing a construtive “post-mortem” look at the experience, which is exactly one of the things I’m trying to teach my students. There is huge value from learning from failure, and if you can share it in such as way as that others can learn from it, even more value.

    Thanks again!

    — Christopher Allen

  • I have felt in two minds about getting involved in the twitter ‘back-channel’ at conferences and events for this very reason – does it actually offer anything to the speaker, even if the speaker can see the twitter feed? In the majority of cases I think it can only serve to confuse the speaker unless he/she is able (and willing) to use it as a major force of content and direction in their presentation.

    Well done for opening up and letting us learn from the mistakes that were made during your presentation (by this I mean the twitter feed and childish behaviour of the tweets coming through the feed, not you).

    David.

  • Cenate Pruitt

    Wow, that sounds like a load of BS – I’ve never been to a conference that does a ‘back-channel’ and I’m going to come out on record now and say that I hope I never have to. I’m all for audience integration into presentations, but that sounds like something they’d do for “American Idol,” not a serious conference. OMG THIS PANAL = BORING WANT 2 GO 4 COFFEE LOL

    I don’t even understand the purpose of the thing – any salient points the tweeters might have are going to be missed by the presenter (this is why you have a Q&A/discussion afterwards) and it basically only seems to serve to entertain the audience, in which case why are you even IN the panel? Just go play video games in the lobby or whatever. I don’t know how I’d even handle something like that, but based on my initial reaction, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be positive…

    In other words, you’re a braver sort than I am for A: doing that in the first place and B: not completely freaking out and yelling at everyone to get off their damned phones and pay attention to the panel that they presumably paid money to see. This is learning time, class – put your toys away!

  • As a frequent speaker and an event producer I have two comments.

    1. Danah – The only reason that you feel public speaking is “emotionally and physically exhausting” is that you are doing it RIGHT. People who are not drained by the experience aren’t giving their all to their audience. Brava.

    2. Web 2.0 – You owe your speakers an apology, certainly. But you also owe your audience an apology.

    Hey, I know – next time we put on a concert, let’s give everybody microphone so they can sing along! Let’s give everybody finger paints when they visit the art museum! Let’s have all the members of Congress shout “You Lie!” to the President of the United States.

    “To be or not to be?” is part of a story, told by a genius, signifying everything. It is not an interactive, audience participate question.

    Danah – I’ve never hear you speak or read your papers. I will remedy that immediately.

    As for your post, I now have something to point people to when they ask me if I will put up a Twitter backchannel on the screen at my events. You’ve saved me from having to explain it. I now have one more thing to be grateful for today – of all days ;-)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    – Jim Sterne

  • Thanks for sharing this – admire your courage. While I love twitter and the rest, I can’t help but be stunned at the rudeness of the particular set-up at the conference. It seems that we are going a bit too far toward indulging the ADHD-addled audience members.

  • Paul Carter

    Allow me to say that I deeply appreciate your post. However I enjoyed your notes from your talk even more. I find it amazing how the situation reflected and proved the points of the talk you were giving.

    “we’re biologically programmed to be attentive to things that stimulate: content that is gross, violent, or sexual and that gossip which is humiliating, embarrassing, or offensive. If we’re not careful, we’re going to develop the psychological equivalent of obesity. We’ll find ourselves consuming content that is least beneficial for ourselves or society as a whole”

    What happened with the twitter stream while you were speaking powerfully demonstrated how attention was quickly shifted from the “excellent” information you had to offer as a speaker to the puerile tweets of attendees that failed to socially mature.

    I find it so sad that this situation proved so quickly how thin the veneer of civility really is.

    I would have argued with you for days over the statement “Ah, but it’s a meritocracy. People will give their attention to what is best!” I would have made the point of looking at the number of followers @chrisbrogan or @guykawasaki have, doesn’t this prove the meritocracy point? Alas the argument would die in its infancy as you would simply hand me a copy of the blog post.

    I am sorry that you had to experience this. Please don’t just look at the dark side of what happened the event itself reinforces all you chose to put forth in your talk.

    This would be an excellent classroom exercise to have students read the notes from the talk and see if they agree or disagree with you and then have them read the post above.

    Thank you again for taking the time and exposing yourself so publicly in this post. This is an amazing talk with incredible depth and insight.

    -Paul G. Carter

  • Thank you for your courage and bravery. I am involved with creating digital citizenship curriculum in our large urban high school; in particular exploring the intersection of our F2F and digital lives. Last school year we experienced 4 teen suicides. That intersection factored large. We all have a tremendous amount of work to do. Civility and respect. Rock on.

  • Liz

    Since this is becoming not only a consoling comment stream but a constructive one, I thought I’d share that Sarah Milstein (@SarahM) asked me to be her “Twitter curator” during her Web2.0 session. I was in the audience, monitoring the Tweets during her presentation and at appropriate points, I let her know privately any important comments or questions that had been brought up by conference participants.

    It worked out well for that panel/presentation and served to kick off the Q&A portion of the talk since Sarah already had some audience questions to answer. I don’t know if it would be manageable for a keynote address with the larger flow of Tweets but with a smaller group (~100 people), it was helpful to engage with it.

  • Laughingrat

    There’s nothing “neurotic” about your response to this, and anyone who’s made you feel that way, whether it’s the so-called professionals in the audience (or running that conference), or anyone else here or in meatspace, needs to be hung up by the heels and horsewhipped.

    But horsewhipped publicly, of course, and preferably in front of their colleagues, so they’ll get a little perspective on how it feels to be humiliated in such a manner.

    How interesting that just as persons from marginalized groups (women, people of color, etc.) have become more forceful about working in the tech field, the field itself comes up with new and unique ways to literally heckle those persons out of participating in professional gatherings.

  • This was a fascinating look at how a speech (and an audience) can go sideways – and a cautionary tale. Thanks so much for sharing it; it should be required reading for speakers everywhere.

    And it inspired a cartoon, so thanks for that, too!

  • danah…WOW, that totally sucks!

    which isn’t the usual thoughtful erudite kind comment i try and eek out…but which is just what i think the situation calls for…i also thought as i was reading, always bring a friend!…sheesh, if you had been my best bud giving a big speech and i saw it going south like that i woulda waved my arms and pointed to the backchannel thing… like a friend who tells you that you have TP stuck to your shoe or your bra is showing …but that’s not the answer! cause even if a friend had done that the lights woulda been too bright to see my frantic gesticulations! GAH!
    i also woulda gotten on that channel and said “really? is this what we’re about people? be constructive here and have some manners, please!” did anyone do that?

    i don’t know what the answer is… BUT people have some class!

    also…tech people at a freaking tech conference let the speaker have whatever they want on stage!…i love visuals to go with talks – screen shots, charts, quotes and the like! sheesh…..make it work people that’s inexcusable.

    the backchannel is new…it’s exciting! i LOVES it! i enjoy going back over it after i speak (and no one pays for me to speak yet..i even pay registration! LOL) …but it’s a wild west frontier out there…it needs to be rich, informative, fair, and talking about the IDEAS and not the hot blonde (or redhead) chick talking too fast! (Btw, i do that, too.. i also crack corny irreverent BAD jokes when i get nervous…we middle school peeps are SO obvious!)

    SO…a moderator who has a voice to the speaker and the audience helps direct the channel …also, like middle schoolers, if we know we’re BEING moderated i think we behave better! the sneaky passing of notes – with cartoons of the teacher – is not what we’re going for here folks. it’s the vibrant conversation that compliments the presentation…letting people share their ideas or related resources.

    i saw you present at AASL in Charlotte…and grrl you rocked! of course i i was already a fan….(not fangirl!)…and some of what you preach i’ve been saying for years (so i was saying hellyeah! in me heid a LOT!)

    …like we can’t teach kids to be internet SAFE just AWARE. and that the kids that are getting in trouble on the interwebs are kids who are in trouble already… Oh and that our old MySpace pages are now a social archive.

    we NEED your message, Danah! …it’s important and informative and it’s not always what educators or administrators want to hear!

    Social Media is here people!…we can’t put that particular horse back in the barn or tie it down with firewalls, restrictive AUP’s, and knee jerk reactions to when something new & scary comes out… we need to tame it and ride it cause otherwise we’re left in the dirt. Ok…so like the metaphor is a little bit much but you get what i’m saying here…Oh wait! i gots another! i’m waiting for the googlewave to be held back rather than flow in my county soon…heh heh see? i didn’t say surf…\\FTW!//

    keep talking Danah!…don’t sweat it anymore…it sucked! the situation not the talk… it’s over BUT it started this new conversation and hopefully will make people think and THAT is the MOST important part! /rant
    Cheers!
    ~Gwyneth Jones
    Middle School Teacher/Librarian & Tech Specialist

  • Pat

    Thank you for writing this post. I am still new to giving presentations and was glad to see that your feelings before a presentation is exactly like mine even though you have more experience. It gave me hope. But as I read about the audience’s reactions, it made me mad. It made me mad because there is no excuse for bad behavior and rudeness whether there is a backchannel or not. If they didn’t want to be there, they should have left so others could get something out of your talk. We have always had a rule in our home that “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” It is a shame that professionals acted this way and that other people chose to be followers instead of leaders. I hope someday to hear you in person!

  • It sounds to me like the organisers of this conference have a major responsibility in this. Why no laptop? Why the blinding lights? Why didn’t they warn you about the backchannel?

    And why on earth didn’t someone in the audience just ask you – politely – at the outset to speak more slowly?

    Twitterwalls sound like a bad idea to me – not just just because of the rudeness/silent heckling they enable, but also because they’re surely a tremendous distraction. For tweeters and readers alike.

    Thanks for this blog post.

  • Danah,
    Thank you for writing this – I was upset to see a similar situation happen at another conference, and when the speaker asked for questions or feedback, NO ONE spoke up.

    The problem with the backchannel is that people feel empowered to say things they would NEVER say out loud. It’s cowardly and immature. The lack of manners and ownership for one’s words is taking a toll on Twitter’s legitimacy, because at times it feels like the high school locker room. I’d like to see people hold themselves accountable for bad behavior. I am not suggesting that we should all act/speak like Mary Poppins, but anyone who lashes out on the backchannel should be willing and prepared to say the same things out loud. Fighting is fine, but fight fair, and why personalize the attacks? It is silly that we need to be reminded of “the Golden Rule”, but obviously too many have forgotten it.

    I appreciate your beginning a discussion that has to happen. I am only sorry you had to experience it to write about it, but that’s kind of how it works, right?

    Well done,
    Liza Sperling

  • Kamal Jain

    danah, you always felt like an emotional, passionate, fearless, and a caring person. such people usually have a great chance to impact the world around them.

    there is not much point in closing your brave post by asking for a favor. the crowd will grow up by itself. what you do is valuable to many people irrespective of whether or not some other people want to behave like adults or not. you have goals to achieve and we like to hear and benefit from your knowledge. you deliver your message in the way you think is the best way. the part of the audience who wants to listen to your message will tackle the misbehaving part of the audience. this part of the audience also treats you with respect and as a loveable creature.

  • thanks for sharing this, danah.

  • vasanth

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. I feel very much sorry. People at the Expo missed a great chance to hear you and build a conversation.
    I am great fan of you and your blog. Always great to read.

  • danah, my heart went out to you as I read this. As a long-time speaker, I’ve had a few nightmare talks when I’m counting the minutes until I get off the stage. I’ve had the blinding spots that make the audience invisible. And I’ve suffered the same angst ahead of time.

    But I’ve never had the kind of public humiliation you were subjected to. I so respect your ability to publicly analyze it, and I have a huge amount of respect for how you handled what was an intolerable situation.

    It was the conference organizers’ loss that their attendees weren’t able to hear you give the talk you’d planned to give; you’re a great speaker – engaging, thought-provoking and personable. Thank you so much for giving your take on this. The Web 2.0 Expo organizers should be ashamed by their behavior.

  • Thanks for such a frank sharing of your situation. It’s an interesting age we live in, that we can hide behind technology and say what we feel – would anyone have yelled at you from the floor “hey, slow down”? Yet they were (clearly) comfortable tweeting it, and more.

    We ran similar technology (only ours captures more than tweets: texts, messages, flickr, blog posts, etc) at a conference earlier this year, but it ran in the breaks, not while the speaker was talking – that would be rude! (you can see a demo of it here: http://suitespot.clicksuite.co.nz/)

    Talking with speakers during the breaks, they did find even that unnerving, to see what people were thinking (albeit afterwards), though also empowering.

    Having it live on stage, not giving you a stream to watch (that would be off-putting too, I imagine) and not telling you about it adds up to a bad/rude user experience.

    I think we’ll see more of this type of technology (based on the interest ours has had) at conferences, so it’s time we learnt how to use it.

    Good luck with your next one!

  • As a member of the audience at Web 2.0 Expo, I was Tweeting during presentations, but sitting in the back section, the Twitter stream behind the speakers was completely illegible. I would venture to say that the type wasn’t large enough for anyone past the front section seating to read.

    When I saw it, my initial thoughts were:

    A.) If they’re going to do this, that type should be at least twice that size.
    B.) This has very big potential to be a huge disaster.
    C.) I would REALLY hate to be someone giving a talk in front of that.
    D.) I wonder if the presenters are able to see the stream from where they are?

    I wonder how/if this format will be handled in the future.

    I hope writing this article (and the many replies) has been therapeutic.

    Chin up.

  • Chris Bayne

    Danah,
    Thanks for posting your view of the happenings. I was in the audience that day and was distracted by the Tweets. What you were saying was mind-blowing, fantastic, but the Tweets (and the whole ensuing situation) prevented me from getting it all. So thanks too for posting the text.

    Anyone who gets up on a stage like that one, is a super-hero! And especially so, if you’re also sensitive and delivering a meaningful message.

    There’s far too much value in what you have to say for it not to be heard, Danah. If some people out there aren’t listening, rest assured that there are a lot more who ARE listening.

    Also, you’re a speaker, not a puppet. If an event won’t allow you to deliver a speech the way you want, (ie. with your laptop, without a twitter stream) then just don’t do it.

  • The lecture with the Twitter stream was a manifestation of the point of your lecture. I didn’t even need to read beyond the title of your lecture although I will certainly take the time to do it.

    You handle yourself well before and after and the goons who were so rude, the moderator of your lecture and the producers of the event themselves will be lucky not to have a sexual harassment suite filed against them. Is that what it will take to have people behave appropriately?

    I look forward to the read and hearing you live. Keep your chin up and thanks for telling the world about this awful event so it never happens again.

  • A lot has already been said and I think we’ve probably reached the saturation point where much of the comments are repeating.

    I just want to thank you personally for writing this post. It’s courageous, and it’s a precious testimony about what public speaking can feel like from the speaker side, and I think many people in the audience just have no idea how difficult an exercise delivering a great talk can be.

  • A lot of YOU ARE BRAVE and OUR HEARTS WILL GO ON repsonses here, but just for the common sense angle: having any sort of live text behind a speaker is just a drastically bad idea. Not only is it flat-out distracting, but when you also allow any public person to add to that text, it’s promoting risk-free heckling.

    I wouldn’t be all “I hope this isn’t where the world is going” about this. What this was, was a bad idea by someone who doesn’t understand people. This was done by an event organizer who thought “here’s a tech thing that those tech people will think is cool and techy.” My hope is that news of this will spread around and that organizer’s boss will understand the monetary impact of such terrible planning.

  • Just had a blog post on this one to share but wanted to give you a few of the thoughts I wrote to you at the end of it over here.

    One of my dear friends, Anne Bubnic, emailed me to let me know what happened to Danah. She was at NECC this year when my horrible Backchannel Bad Day happened and I’ll tell you what – it didn’t matter that I had 12 pretty good presentations at NECC — the 13th one was very unlucky for me and made me feel like a total L-O-S-E-R! Totally. It was awful.

    It didn’t matter what anyone else said, it was one of the worst presentation experiences of my life.

    Danah Boyd, I’m going to tell you something.

    #1 You are brave.
    Thank you for openly speaking about how you felt. And you don’t need ot make excuses for anything, being backstabbed by a backchannel that you didn’t really know was there and having no conduit for feedback to you on the podium is totally the wrong way to do this!

    There are enough people who have worked through the pedagogy of good backchanneling that we should be able to have some good backchannel guidelines that work for speakers so they don’t have to write in their contracts that no backchannels are allowed!

    #2 Keep on plugging!

    Plug ahead – keep going. My heartbreak over Kathy Sierra’s experience with cyberbullying was that she STOPPED. We as women must show we are especially resilient. (Which is why when I received death threats on this blog that I didn’t stop here!) But we also have to have supportive families, who usually react by wanting us to quit!

    You know that there are things worth dying for. Freedom. Purpose. Cause. And my goodness, although I wouldn’t want to die for my blog, sacrificing pride and going right back out there after a horrible experience is the kind of “dying to self” that I think is appropriate.

    Don’t quit, Danah. You’ll come out stronger!

    #3 You are now an ambassador. Use it Well.
    Just as Kathy Sierra carries a lot of weight on cyberbullying – you can now speak and carry weight on backchanneling and how it can be best used. There are many people (like me) who would be willing to sort of codify some backchannel suggestions or guidelines or some alternatives that have worked for us so we can share them with those considering doing it.

    You know if this happens once, then chalk it up to learning but this is NOT the first time it has happened. It angers me that we haven’t learned from the humiliations of other speakers and improved how this is done. The Web 2.0 Expo organizers should be embarrassed that they didn’t have better communications with you on this! It is a way NOT to do a conference.

    Who wants to pay to go see speakers humiliated? If they want to do that, there are plenty of TV shows that do that – my goodness!

    OK, so my little tiny thoughts are added to the cacophony, but Danah, I appreciate your sharing and your thoughts. Thank you for sharing your perspective, this is something I think I should do more next time when I have things happen, I guess, if appropriate.

    Keep on going and moving ahead. In many ways we’re still moving through the “Wild West” phase of the Internet, but you know what… you’re still standing.

    Keep on going and perhaps one day our paths will cross. And sometimes the very worst things that could ever happen to us, can end up being the best. The spotlight is not out on this one, my friend!

  • Great blog entry, danah.

    I realize, from what you said, that the conference organizers were apologetic and supportive, but I’m still having a hard time understanding what went on. Have these people run the conference before? They seem to have good hearts, but they seem both unprepared and naive. Problems:

    — no laptop for the speaker, no adequate stands, lighting problems

    — when problems occurred they continued to let it happen, aside from taking the twitter feed down after some time. There was no plan in place for what to do when something in a talk goes wrong. If they were doing a live twitter feed (more on that next), they should have had a plan in place on what to do when it goes wrong, how to get an unruly audience back on track. There was nothing. The moderator should have stopped the presentation, apologized for the difficult setup, given a five minute break. During the break, they should have: reworked the lights, given you your laptop, taken the twitter feed down. During the five minute break, the moderator should have given conference information — so no dead time. You know “as we are resetting up, let me give you some information on what is happening later”, then chat about the talks, the expo floor, all that. I would not have mentioned the twitter feed going bad. Then, when it’s all set up, give the floor back to you, and you start again.

    — the most obvious problem was a live twitter feed, no less an unmoderated live twitter feed being displayed behind the speaker. I cannot fathom this. The whole point of a presentation is to make it so that it is easy for the participants to pay attention to the speaker. You remove extraneous distractions, which is why you dim the lights. It’s a talk, a presentation. I’m not fond of a twitter back channel, but, unless you block the internet, I can’t see the blocking happening. So, yes, there are people who want to text live, like a journalist live blogging an event. Fine, but don’t make that the point of the presentation. At the most, it’s a supplement. I suppose, if you think there has to be a back channel displayed, which I think is silly, then you have one. But, you moderate the heck out of it — time delay, active moderator posting, all that. It seems crazy to me to have it displayed, but if you do, you have to assume that it will go bad, and plan accordingly.

    It sounds trite, but you have to give people the tools they need to be successful. You make it so the speaker has all the tools they need and there is no impediment to giving a good presentation.

    —————
    I find it interesting to compare the talks at Interop and Web 2.0. At Interop, there were no back channels being displayed. At Web 2.0, I just can’t remember if there were back channels displayed at all the presentations, but they were there. Why is that, I wonder? I wanted to listen and watch the presenters at Web 2.0 as much as the presenters at Interop.

    —————-
    Getting back to back channels, danah, you fine electronic communication during a talk acceptable, think I got this right. You wrote about it in a previous blog post. You wrote that you corresponded with other people during a conference talk, think it was via IM, not a live twitter feed, and you regard it as acceptable conference behavior. The issue seems to be when the back channel becomes what people are paying attention to, not the speaker.

    Personally, I think that at a talk, one should look at the speaker — it’s a live presentation, even if you are talking notes. I don’t think conversation is the point. But, if people are going to do something else during a talk, I think the conference organizers have to do everything they can to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with a talk. Anyone who has ever posted on an electronic forum, or managed a forum — you can see how this form of communication can get nasty and mean, and way off track. It’s not a surprise, except perhaps to the conference organizers. Why is that, I wonder? Why were they not prepared?

  • Found this blog post via some RT and am glad I did as it has been most informative and will certainly help me in my future speaking opportunities. I guess that’s one of the silver linings for you: you’ll have lots of enw followers and fans.

    While I can think of few times when having a backchannel displayed live during an entire presentation would be valuable to me, I acknowledge that not bringing the channel to the front doesn’t mean it goes away. We just don’t see it, hear it, or acknowledge it as speakers. Yet it is a reality of what is going on while we are talking whether it is enabled by newer technologies or in old school formats of people whispering to each other or passing notes.

    I won’t duplicate all of the insightful comments and kudos that have already been offered, but I did want to pose a question to you.

    You indicated you inferred things weren’t going well early on and retreated into yourself.

    I’m wondering if in hindsight what other options you might now see as being available to you?

  • kathy shields

    Vicki, You seem to be in touch with your challenges as a speaker and clearly, you were under duress due to the nature of the presentation format. What I wonder however, is have you ever considered any ways to take the next step? What you prefer in speaking sounds like what I call, a lecture or the sage on the stage. People can tell, like it or not, that they are being read to and to underestimate an audience is costly. It isn’t what teachers/speakers should be about in the 21st c environment. By this I mean, as someone who clearly ‘knows her stuff’, why not begin practicing for the next ‘free fall’ event. Frankly, now that the worst has happened, you are free to reinvent yourself as a speaker. Extemporaneous speakers who know how to organize their thoughts always succeed in capturing an audience more so than a person who reads from notes. Why? I believe it is a speaker’s ability to have a live sometimes unpredictable conversations with the audience which keeps the audience fully engaged, people tend to cut them more slack for being raw. You were honest about your feelings, but all the empathy in the world, while comforting will not help you to improve your performance if you continue to read a script. This requires change. Consider this a back channel comment brought forward.

  • Kathy Sierra

    @kathy shields — I don’t think it’s useful to generalize to this degree re: the end of “sage on the stage” for teachers/speakers. There is simply no meaningful way to compare a teacher with 30 students to a presentation with hundreds or thousands of participants. Interactive conversations don’t scale, and it’s not worth destroying the experience for both presenter and most of the audience in the name of keeping a talk “a conversation” no matter how unbalanced the ration of speaker to listener.

    I keep suggesting we need a typology of talks — something that categorizes the different types of presentations taking into account goals of the talk (is it a classroom? A briefing? For creativity/inspiration? Lessons learned?, etc.) size of the audience (20 people in a class or meeting vs. 2,000 keynote audience, etc.) and format (panel, barcamp, group discussion, formal presentation, etc.). As an audience member/learner, I for one would mourn the loss of presentations hand-crafted by one who knows something I don’t, to be replaced by an unpredictable conversation. There’s a need for both. To use a video analogy, lifestreams or YouTube with video comment responses are a wonderful example of Future2.0, but however raw and authentic, they are not a replacement of linear, non-interactive films. They’re different, not the next evolutionary step.

  • Jack Santos

    Thanks for your post, your braveness and honest vulnerability.

    Shall we call what happend to you as flaming 2.0? ( but much more open, and just as inappropriate).

    As much as event organizers have some control over whether twitter feeds are displayed, only human nature, common sense, and courtesy can impact this unintended consequence of new media.

    Thanks again.

  • You lost me with the word �objectified.� You have a strong enough case to argue without recourse to discredited 1990s college-feminist cant.

  • Joan Eisenstodt

    I echo the comments of those who praised you for writing so eloquently and openly about this horrendous experience. More, as someone who does training and faciltating (and is often called a “speaker”) and who was involved for many years planning meetings, there are lessons to be learned for those who work with speakers and facilities about initial and subsequent communications and meeting a speaker’s needs so that she/he does the best job.

    @Kathy Sierra – yes to all you said. The meetings industry has struggled for years with how to characterize AND accommodate different types of presentations. Because there’s been so little agreement, most rooms and stages are set for the common denominator. Maybe this is where we look again, yet, still, at what to do.

  • Danah, my heart goes out to you and like many others here I think you have been very courageous in talking about your dreadful experience.

    As far as I can tell only one person in the comments — Jon B — has described it as the bullying it is. Having experienced a similar thing in different circumstances – a forum (http://ymlp.com/zAbS2w#cyberbullying) – I know how one has to make a supreme effort to not get dragged down completely by it, so I’m glad you appear to have succeeded.

    For what it’s worth, I have only attended one of your talks, at the Handheld Learning Conference, and I couldn’t stop talking about it for ages — including having an hour’s discussion with a colleague I bumped into in a local supermarket!

    So, as they say, keep on truckin’!

  • A critical part of a conference organizer’s job is to make sure nothing stands in the way of each speaker giving the best possible presentation. The people arranging this conference not only failed to do this, they actively and knowingly (unless they are truly stupid) sabotaged the presenters.

    How can anyone think that projecting a live twitter feed behind (and out of the view of) a speaker is a good idea? It’s boneheaded to say the least.

    Congratulations for seeing it through and for having the courage to tell your story. I hope your story raises enough of a fuss to put an end to the practice.

    I look forward to hearing your talk at SXSW, in what I hope will be a more congenial setting.

  • I agree with Kathy Sierra. Giving a talk that’s not extemporaneous, particularly as a keynote — that’s perfect. Interactivity does not scale. When I went to the keynotes at Interop and Web 2.0, I was expecting people to give a talk they had prepared in advance. Generally, the speakers at big events are good, but, of course, some speakers are better than others. That’s just how it goes. I’m fine with that. I also don’t want or expect extemporaneous conversation with the speaker and a big crowd. I think reading the talk is fine – public speakers do it all the time, though they also look around at the audience. Pity that the conference can’t provide teleprompter screens, but gee, at least they could let you use your laptop!

    I thought of something else — the live twitter feed. I think it’s human nature, people saying something (or in this case typing something) to get attention. Extreme entries tend to get more attention. Think of the class clown at the back of the room. Live tweets being prominently displayed behind a speaker – they are inappropriate. People will get off track, and will vie for the attention of the crowd. One person will start and another person will pick up on it. The thing to do is not to go all crazy expecting people to behave — you don’t let the situation happen in the first place.

    Richard Hamilton, i don’t think the people running the conference were stupid, just very naive. This isn’t the first time there was a live twitter feed at a venue. I think it’s a naive belief in, well, something, not sure exactly what!

    I see that Kathy Sierra is here and posting. That’s good. Kathy, what you experienced was terrible, and there was no need for it. People will post in a more and more extreme, even scary fashion to get attention, on an electronic forum, not just a twitter feed. That’s how it is. Danah and others can write about why, and do studies, but even anecdotally, you see it happen all the time. I saw it happen when I was a forum moderator. The job of a forum moderator is to not give them the venue. As soon as there was an instance of cyberbullying, those posts should have been removed.

    Oops – sorry – a bit off track. Good thread.

  • These terrible experiences are the bad side of the live twitter coin. I’m really sorry for everyone who had an awful time.

    It’s worth also thinking about what makes Twitter work well (when it does). I was recently at a conference where it transformed the event (keynotes and seminars) in a totally positive way.

    The key was that the organisers had recruited a social reporter panel in advance. (I was on this panel). It created a positively disposed fifth estate. You can see the immense value of the outcome here at scribble live aggregator page at

    http://www.scribblelive.com/Event/myPublicServices09_?Page=0

    I also blogged the process of harnessing the twitterati’s power to good effect at this url:

    http://messyplaymessywork.blogspot.com/2009/11/real-cakes-and-social-media-reporters.html

  • Wow! This post was referenced in a hospitality industry forum. I usually don’t spend the time to check most posts but the topic of public speaking piqued my interest. I am glad I did. Not only have I read the long post – excellently written (except for a few profanities that might have been worded differently but certainly expressed your feelings) – but I’ve read the comments. Another thing I don’t usually do.

    Public speaking is a joy and motivator for me. That’s why it is my profession and I get paid for speaking and facilitating workshops. I don’t speak on technical topics; I speak on interpersonal “people skills” topics. For one thing, it seems from your audience’s behavior that I have alot of years of work to do! For another thing, I admire you for opening yourself up to an anonymous world by revealing your feelings. Many of my colleagues would do well to learn from your openness.

    After decades of keynoting and training, I still get nervous those first few minutes of a presentation. The professionalism comes in training those butterflies to fly in formation. You’ve given me thought as to the future of public speaking with audience interaction. As if preparing for giving the audience your best is not tough enough already! I also know that that “don’t take it personally” stuff is crap. When YOU are part of the product package, how can you not take it personally?!

    One thing that helps me a lot as a speaker and as a leader of organizations is to create a “Smiles” file. Store any positive notes you receive – and many of these comments from your post ARE positive and encouraging – into the file. When you have a session like the one you described, pull out that file and read through the positive notes. This may sound a bit touchy-feely-woo-woo but it really does work to more-quickly rebuild self-esteem and move on to the next opportunity. I wish you the best as you continue to give those who deserve to receive your valuable information and perspectives. And if you have a Toastmasters club or National Speakers Association chapter near you, consider joining other speakers who share your trials and triumphs. Being involved with a community of speakers of all kinds of topics helps a lot, too.

  • Sylvia’s suggestion above about meeting up with other speakers is great.

    I’d never had to speak to groups of more than 5-10 people until after I’d studied storytelling and taken a Learn To Act course. When the need arose subsequently, I found it much easier to deal with any fear or nervousness using the techniques I’d learned.

  • I was in the audience at the famous Sarah Lacy / Mark Zuckerberg interview at SXSW 2008, and I remember feeling quite embarrassed and ashamed to spent valuable time away from my work to sit in that unrewarding talk.

    While much of the popular opinion blamed Sarah Lacy’s interview style for the breakdown of the session, I place the blame squarely on the audience. After a handful of awkward exchanges, the Twitter-backchannel-fueled audience converted into full-on heckling mode.

    It seems to me that audiences are starting to self-organize in a manner that is going to continue to disrupt events like this. Before all of this real-time organizing technology, I would like to think that audience members would not realize that other people were having doubts about the panel they were in, and would have silently and politely waited until afterwards to discuss its shortcomings.

    With the speed at which an audience can have a shared experience invisible to the people on stage, I am worried that there is no simple answer to this problem. It reminds me of asymmetric warfare: it only takes a few loosely-organized people to disrupt the larger organization of the event.

    And the people on stage may try, but cannot be expected to succeed at following a backchannel while simultaneously performing. Being on stage is the hardest job in the room, taking the most mental acumen. It leaves the speakers very little mental headroom to dedicate to such a backchannel.

    My heart goes out to you, and I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Danah:

    I know this was a difficult experience for you and one you’re still learning from. You experienced a classic amygdala emotional highjack. Yes, some of the banter was rude and inexcusable. Some of it was warranted.

    I have a couple difficult and hard questions for you to consider:

    1) Who is the presentation for? You, your audience or your conference organizer?
    2) When did you really lose the audience’s attention?
    3) If the audience is not getting your message, is it their fault or yours?
    4) Are presentations supposed to be data dumps, even those by scholars and researchers?
    5) If you could have a magic wand, stop time and walk around the room to peek inside each attendee’s head to see how they were reacting to your presentation, would you do it? And if you would do it, what if what you saw them thinking was totally different than your scripted speech? What would you do then?
    6) Have you thought about getting more formal training in presentation delivery skills, how to handle hecklers (whether verbal or in writing), how to engage your audience, how not to read a speech, etc?
    7) Have you thought about getting some coaching on how to manage your emotions so this doesn’t happen again and so you walk on stage confident in your message and in yourself as a presenter?
    8) Do you really want to continue professional speaking? Is that your passion, your best and highest use?

    Let’s assume for a second that the “back channel” had not happened. You would have delivered your presentation thinking you were doing a great job meeting your attendees’ needs. Your audience would have sat quietly and you would not have had an emotional highjack. However, you would have been deceived as in reality you were not meeting your audience’s needs. You lost their attention within the first few minutes. Your audience was thinking, slow down and they were not getting it. You would have walked out with a false sense of accomplishment.

    You have a great opportunity in front of you. You can rise above this situation. Use it as a harsh learning experience and improve your presentation skills, or this will happen again regardless of the back channel, and what’s worse, you won’t even know it happened.

  • Thank you very much for this post which was incredibly honest – I appreciate your candor.

    To me it emphasized the importance of being prepared before a presentation; know your audience, know your equipment, know your talk inside out.

    best wishes, Sarah

  • Jeff Hurt: I’m pretty sure that there’s a wall of tiny text up there that shows she’s using it as a harsh learning experience.

    Seriously, scrolling text of any kind is nearly unforgivable, but scrolling text that can be realtime added to by the audience is clearly unforgivable. She was just in a bad presenter position, and it’s kind of odd to try to turn this around to her, really.

  • Perhaps people wouldn’t objectify and commodify you so much if you hadn’t already objectified and commodified yourself by first getting a degree from Berkeley, then becoming a new media darling and a fellow at Berkman, then getting a fancy job at Microsoft.

    I seriously wonder whether you can go on calling yourself an academic, given that trajectory to corporate employment. I find it disturbing.

    I’ll be frank: I’ve always found you immensely irritating as a Silicon Valley product, especially if you invoke the woman-as-victim in a geeky male world meme. I feel as if you are selling something that I don’t wish to buy. You are a new media star like an old media star and it’s the presence of such stars that lets us know new media isn’t really any different than old media, it’s all about the few-to-many, really.

    The backchannel is really the only promising area of dissent that we users have to push back against a commodity figure like yourself, someone whose influence is powered by certain elite groups that ultimately are using new media as broadcasters, suppressing their potential as more democratic forms of communication.

    As for all this emo stuff about throwing up and hating yourself and all the rest, good God, Danah, you have a Ph.D. from Berkeley, you’re a fellow at Harvard and you work at Microsoft and you probably make a fantastic salary and you are published everywhere. Could you stop the QQing as if you were a 14-year-old girl on Myspace?! There’s something infantile about this that doesn’t command respect or empathy, but only increases the scorn. I just cannot feel sorry for you.

  • Jan-Olov Johansson

    Ironically, the event illustrated well the title of your speech, how limited attention has a hard time keeping up with the streams of content. I even wondered during your speech whether this was a planned effect.

  • Thank you so much for your post and for keeping your head high. I just want you to know that folks are on your side – I wrote an article for my school paper a few weeks ago about an assembly speaker who claimed he “only liked [his girlfriend] because she had enormous bazongas,” and there have been reactions since – one of which was an OpEd today by someone in your audience.

    http://record.horacemann.org/article.php?id=15163
    http://record.horacemann.org/article.php?id=15275

    Thanks again.

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