A Conversation with Victoria Taylor, Interview by David Griner

Our closing keynote at the 2015 Type-A Parent Conference is A Conversation with Victoria Taylor, Interview by David Griner. Both of them are wonderful people, and I wish you could experience this in person. So much is lost when you read the words without their personalities shining through!

A Conversation with VIctoria Taylor, Interview by David Griner

Victoria and David have some rock music for their intro.

Today we’re talking about digital community.

“For anyone who’s ever wanted to take down reddit, only one person actually did, and it was Victoria Taylor.”

What are some of the most uplifting moments you’ve seen in the digital community?

People are incredibly generous. You can see this through online giving campaigns, when people can’t give money financially, they’ll give the fundraiser amplification through sharing.

Victoria helped put together over 2,500 AMAs at reddit. Some of her favorites: Levar Burton, Ben & Jerry’s, Jeff Goldblum, Sean Bean, Buzz Aldrin, too many to list!

Non-celebrity AMAs she loved: the secretary to the Eagles, Holocaust survivors, WWII veterans, a stuntwoman, a tree farmer.

Everyone is a celebrity to Victoria; everyone has a story to share.

What were some of the recurring pieces of advice over the AMAs?

From Portlandia folks, “At the end of your life, you’re not going to say, ‘I wish I ate more salad.’ Get the pasta.”

You don’t need a big budget to do big things. The production designer for the original Star Wars had to be very creative with little money and scrap parts.

Pursue your passion. Keep putting yourself out there, and the success you want will follow. (P.S. Corgis are bigger than you may think.)

Personalities are the key to success. A movie is the sum of its parts. Likability translates into success, online and otherwise. [Good reason to be a decent person. Don’t be a jerk!] Good will can pay off in the long run.

Even celebrities can be anxious about the public scrutiny of AMAs.

Mark Ruffalo was really anxious before his AMA, but had so much fun by the end that he wanted to do another.

Think about security concerns, but don’t let it hold you back from expressing yourself. Are you not on Periscope, Meerkat, etc. because you don’t want to get the negative comments? Don’t let it stop you. Test the water. Hang on for the ride. If it isn’t a fit for you, that’s okay. But you may find it’s a fantastic, incredible experience.

Most people are incredibly supportive, but the trolls are louder. Don’t let them get you don’t.

What advice would you give to people like us who live on the edge of being one step away from becoming a national embarrassment?

Remember that everything you put out there on the Internet is there forever. This is a lesson we definitely need to drive home for our kids. For us, we generally have the foresight to think twice before we post or tweet. If you don’t, keep this in mind. One bad tweet can cost you your career.

What is your net opinion of the Internet community?

There’s a diverse rainbow of perspectives out there. There are private groups on Facebook, but it’s easier to do on reddit. Victoria thinks most people are benign and have good intentions. Get a wide variety of influences so you don’t feel overwhelmed by negativity on any one platform.

Let’s talk about your new role at WeWork.

Victoria’s new job is for a company that creates common and collaborative spaces for people who freelance. They have labs for virtual collaboration services.

What is the biggest benefit for people who work remotely to move into collaborative spaces?

You can find unintentional opportunities to work together. You can work without all the distractions you have at home. It’s not necessarily about getting out of the house, but it’s about getting into a state of mind.

Would you ever go back to reddit?

I loved it there, and you never know, but I love what I’m doing now.

What do you do when you see a comment thread on a controversial topic starting to go bad?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people are willing to enter into a dialogue, but others won’t be swayed and won’t stop until they’ve taken over the conversation. But in general, it’s best to try to educate people and avoid ad hominem attacks. Reach out to a network of friends if something starts to get out of control. Get advice on how to handle it. You never know; you may end up on the Today Show next week talking about the whole thing.

Did any AMA ever start going bad but get turned around?

Yeah, it’s happened. Frustration can come from pent-up enthusiasm. Make the most of the time that you have to engage, and that frustration can turn back into excitement. Addressing tough questions with candor can defuse a situation.

So…about that backlash when reddit fired you…

It was really surreal and very humbling. Victoria felt like she was a public servant who had been in the right place at the right time to make wonderful things happen, no different than any other redditor. She was very grateful, and she still participates on reddit.

Christina Gleason (973 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


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