Throwback Thursday – To commemorate the 10th year of SXTXState, each Thursday we’ll be featuring past participants in the project. Check back each Thursday until SXSW to find out what SXTXState alumni remember from their time with the project and what they are up to now.
Shannon Goodell graduated from Texas State University in the Spring of 2012 with her Masters in Mass Communications and focus in online media design. Goodell participated in the SXTXState project during her last semester of graduate school and thinks very highly of the opportunity,
It was definitely my favorite project of all of grad school.
As a member of the SXTXState project currently, I had the chance to interview Goodell about her time in graduate school and her time participating in the project. Check out my Q&A with Goodell concerning her days in graduate school to what she’s doing now and advice for those attending SXSW this March!
What was your job title/responsibility during the SXTXState project?
I think at that point it was so early on, I think it was officially SXTXState Blogger. During our project, we did previews for different panels and events that we planned on attending, so I would get in contact with presenters and try to interview them before their panels and get a preview of what the panel was and educate people on that. I did a lot of contacting people through Twitter, E-mail, the phone for phone interviews and then, when I was blogging at SXSW, I would attend those panels that I previewed and interviewed those people after as well. Some of those were video interviews, so playing around with different formats like video, Storify and things like that. It was a lot of fun to see the event all the way through from the preview to attending the event to writing about it and then the post interview as well.
What was the greatest thing you took away from your experience at SXSW?
I kind of consider myself a pretty shy person and it was hard for me to just go up to people I didn’t know or try and contact people I didn’t know. I think that I was out of my comfort zone and that I had to put myself out there when contacting these people. One of the guys I contacted and interviewed twice was the digital editor at the New York Times, these are big deal type of people, so I stepped out of my comfort zone being able to contact them, set up an interview and really dive into the whole process. Being at the event, reconnecting with them and interviewing them on video, those types of things would tend to have made me nervous in the past, so I think that I grew a lot through that experience. Just put yourself out there, the worst thing that could happen is that they say no and you just move on to another panelists. That’s definitely the biggest thing that I took out of it.
What was your favorite thing about the conference?
It was really getting to go to all the panels and learn different things. I had never been to SXSW Interactive before, I had only done the music, but I didn’t really know what it was until I dove into the project. I didn’t know that it brought people from around the world and people that were innovative in their industries, I had no idea what it was. So, I think that the best thing for me and what I enjoyed the most was getting to go to the panels and meet people who were innovating in the digital media and online media space, so getting that experience and education as to what SXSW Interactive was and just how huge it is. I had a lot of fun going with my classmates as well. We were a small class and all pretty close, so getting to experience that with them as well as going to the panels with them and touch base at the end of the day and go out to dinner and talk about what we had done and just getting to spend time with the group as well.
What is your profession now and what is your responsibility?
I am at a small start up in downtown Austin, and I am a customer manager. I manage about 30 clients, all the communications with the clients as well as all of their campaigns, and I manage a small team to run the campaign. It’s very interesting in that my work with the graduate program actually helped me. We’re a social media start up and so already having that knowledge from the graduate program and social media that I learned at SXSW has been helpful in this role as well.
Did the SXTXState project impact the work that you do today? How?
It definitely did. I deal with clients on a daily basis, jump up on the phone with them and things like that. The SXTXState project helped me with communicating with people on the phone and in person, because I was very shy, and not to be afraid to express myself and share my opinions to clients. The writing skills as well, I write a lot of campaigns and that itself helps.
Do you have any advice for those who are in graduate school and participating in SXSW and the SXTXState project?
Just put yourself out there and go for it. Don’t be afraid that someone might turn you down and not want to do an interview. I would do the preview and be really prepared and dive into who they are, the projects that they’re doing and read articles and know who they really are going into it. Then come up with your questions, but as your talking and they’re answering your questions, you’ll think of follow up questions, so don’t just stick with questions that you have, just have a conversation with them. Just put yourself out there and try different panels as well. I was really into the sports panels, and if I was going to SXSW Interactive, not for the project, then I would have been at all the sports panels, but try and expand beyond your comfort zone. I went to a math panel, I didn’t really understand it fully but I got a great video interview out of it which contributed to my project, so don’t just stick with what you like but put yourself out there and try different panels.