The Austin Chronicle

Randi Zuckerberg's 'Dot Complicated' World

Former Facebook marketing director visits the Texas Conference for Women

By Jessi Cape, November 22, 2013, Screens

Emerging from the shadow of success associated with the surname Zuckerberg is not for the faint of heart. But at Randi Zuckerberg's talk at the 14th annual Texas Conference for Women on Tuesday, one couldn't help but silently congratulate her determination.

The former marketing director for Facebook – now CEO of Zuckerberg Media – and newly minted New York Times bestselling author, Zuckerberg highlighted the milestones of her life after university (she graduated from Harvard; her brother did not) and bullet-pointed the decisions she attributes to her current career success in the techie world of social media and marketing. Full of sound bites ("really follow your dreams" and "be bold about advertising your successes because a man in your shoes wouldn't hesitate") and quick quips ("Who gets a call from the White House besides Jack Bauer?"), her talk seemed to fully engage the large audience.

In the Q&A, Zuckerberg broke out thoughtful (if practiced) and surprisingly creative responses to questions on the societal woes of social media, the increasingly precarious navigation of how children interact with technology, and the balance between assistance and interference with near-constant digital interaction. Zuckerberg's answers suggested concepts ranging from a self-imposed "digital Shabbat" to co-working spaces to using digital time allowances for kids to unplug.

These "dot complications" inspired her two new books. The nonfiction, Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives, seeks (along with its related Web community) to fill a perceived gap for "all of us who are way more tech-savvy than we give ourselves credit for, and [who] are just trying to navigate our lives, our children, our work, dating – all of these crazy things that have changed in wired world." Of her new children's book, starring little girl Dot, Zuckerberg said, "it's just a reminder for children and adults that there is a beautiful world when you look up from your device."

And that's a Zuckerberg legacy all its own.

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