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February 4, 2005

Knucklehead McSpazzatron

• I found something out about myself last night. I found out that I suck at panel discussions. And not only do I suck, but I look and act like a moron when I am a part of a panel discussion. It is a double whammy of ineptness that left me dumbfounded as to why I was even asked to be a part of a panel discussion. Allow me to explain.

Last night the Institute of New Media Studies and the Internet Studies Center hosted a Blogumentary Viewing and Discussion. We watched Chuck Olsen's Blogumentary (I'm in the picture! I'm the one that looks mentally imbalanced and happy about it.), a documentary about blogs, and then afterward I participated in a panel discussion with Chuck Olsen and other blogging luminaries. Let me first say that Chuck Olsen's Blogumentary is fantastic. It really captures the spirit of blogging in a way I didn't think was possible on film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the panel discussion was another story.

Give me a topic and I can write a mean research paper about it. I can also give a good speech about it. I might even be able to write a good blog entry about it. But put me on a panel with 4 other people and suddenly I become "JoJo the Monkey Boy." I am fidgety, and nervous, and ... well, quiet. Say something JoJo! Speak monkey! And when I do answer a question I am suddenly very self conscious about what exactly is coming out of my mouth. A question came up, "What do all of you think about the role of blogs vs. the media?" I seem to answer, "Me likey blog! Me think bloggy fun! Word blog make funny! Ha Ha!" Man!

Here is the funny thing. I know about blogs. I work with them everyday. I answer questions about them everyday. I encourage people to use them, and I help people create them. I have created a project called UThink which allows anyone at the U of M to have a blog. You might say I have a thing or two to say about blogs. But I swear every question that came up to the panel dumbfounded me. It was like they were asking me to explain the Theory of Relativity or the NFL QB Rating system. Yikes! What is wrong with me?

So, I have decided that last night is my first and last panel discussion. I gave it a try and I found that it is not for me. I don't care what the topic is I will never be on another panel again. You could say, "Hey Shane, do you want to be on my panel discussion?" And I'll say, "What is the topic?" And you'll say, "It is on 'Looking like a moron in front of 100 people.'" And I will say, "Alas, it is a topic I know about, but I will have to decline." Sheesh!

• One last thing, if you haven't seen this Livejournal post of pictures of people at a Star Wars convention, go take a look right now. Warning! The humor is a little crude.

Posted by snackeru at February 4, 2005 9:05 AM | Life


C'mon buddy, how about some feedback from Loscalzo's opinion in the Star Trib today? Fan ownership? I don't think Pohlad would give 10% to the fans.

Posted by: Vince at February 4, 2005 9:40 AM

Vince, maybe later. Sorry to disappoint.

Posted by: Shane at February 4, 2005 9:47 AM


I wish that I had been at the panel discussion so that I could give real evidence to contradict your view of how things went. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it.

However, as someone who also struggles with sounding competent in public discussion forums, I suspect you're being a little hard on yourself. Personally, I always wonder why the people who ask the questions can't ask questions that I can actually answer!

Personally, I think that panel discussing is a craft that has to be developed. Don't give up so easily!

Posted by: Laurene at February 4, 2005 10:32 AM

whuh? dude, i didn't think that at all.
and i pretty much felt the same way you did.
i had to stop myself from saying "Whatever Grandpa Gillmor thinks, I think. Next?"

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at February 4, 2005 10:39 AM

Chuck, thanks for the comment. That was unexpected. Yes, Dan Gillmor was very impressive, but you were the star of the show. The Blogumentary was great and I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.

Laurene, thanks also for your words of encouragement. You are probably right, I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

But I didn't want this to be a whine session. Truthfully I couldn't stop laughing about all of this last night. And this post is a result. I'm not so proud that I can't make fun of myself every once in a while.

Posted by: Shane at February 4, 2005 10:52 AM

Shane: Next time imagine Cheeseehad Craig is sitting there in his underwear ;)

Seriously, you are being too hard on yourself. My first panel I thought I seriously sucked and then people told me otherwise. The next ones were much easier...and I was sitting up there with Medical Directors...talk about intimidating! Now, I just have fun and try to interject some humor into my responses. Laughter changes everything.

Or just have a shot ot tequila to loosen you up the next time!

Posted by: Brian Maas at February 4, 2005 10:57 AM

Hey Shane, I think I saw you in one of those pictures from the Star Wars Convention! Aren't you dressed as one of the Jedi knights?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at February 4, 2005 11:49 AM

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