2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: You Never Graduated - Social Media as High School

Written by Megan Collyer | Monday, Feb 17, 2014

Mea Cole Tefka covers social media as high school at SXSW 2014

Previously, we highlighted the session, “You Never Graduated - Social Media as High School” with speaker Andrew Cunningham. In this installment of the Session Spotlight, we spoke to Mea Cole Tefka, Andrew’s partner for this session at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival. Based in New York, Tefka is a Senior Integrated Producer at HUGE.

SXSW: Tell us more about the concept behind social media as high school as it relates to your SXSW session.
Tefka: Social media has the familiar symptoms of your lame high school classroom. We’ll use lessons from our past to rule today’s online culture.

SXSW: Have you spoken about this before?
Tefka: SXSW is the debut stage for our topic. In leading up to Austin, we’ve already received a lot of positive reactions and interest, as it is so relatable. We are starting a blog to begin the conversation and crowd-source more ideas to share.

SXSW: Who should attend “You Never Graduated - Social Media as High School?”
Tefka: Did you go to HS? Have you used Facebook? We’re all users and graduates, and will have valuable contributions to offer. Our conversation is about looking at common life experiences. We’ll look for registrants who are up for sharing their stories. In the hour, there will be a wide variety of perspectives presented, but they’ll ultimately drive home the same points: self-awareness and effective conversation.

SXSW: What excites you most about this session?
Tefka: From movies about high school, our personal stories and the amount of time we spend in our jobs, there are multiple points of entry into our conversation. Andrew and I are excited about our topic because it’s so accessible. Plus, it’s pretty hilarious to think about how seriously we all took ourselves in high school, and how similar we behave now in our professional roles. We’re going to have lot of fun and help attendees find success in their social media use.

SXSW: Why are you looking forward to speaking at SXSW?
Tefka: SXSW is an awesome opportunity to inspire and collaborate with other attendees. Andrew and I are passionate about sharing our experiences. Our goal is to elevate the quality of everyone’s social media presence through self-reflection and relevant social commentary.

SXSW: What’s your best strategy for making new connections at the festival?
Tefka: Ask for directions. Finding your way around the convention center is a common denominator.

SXSW: Additionally, what do you think the biggest trend at this year’s SXSW will be?
Tefka: It would be incredible if we could use all of the great minds that attend SXSW to start talking about how to create new jobs that have been lost to modernization and technological advances. MIT detailed the trend, many in the US are hurting, and the economics of the Digital Divide are going to increase. What can we do to help make a change in our own country to create opportunities that provide workers with a living wage, and continue to build a better world together?

SXSW: How about a few questions about you? Will you tell us about your guilty pleasure?
Tefka: I love watching ten NFL games at once in a bar on any given Sunday (Go Colts!), following Fantasy Football on Twitter (@evansilva, @ProFootballTalk, @FantasyPros_NFL) and managing my teams. I have a whiteboard wall in my house I use for fantasy draft strategy, line-ups, and rankings. Stats are a passion of mine and I love the game. I play a lot of fantasy football. Not a little bit…a lot…since 2005. I have three to four solid teams a year, and I’m a fantasy champion (in my fantasy golf league too).

SXSW: What’s your favorite vacation and why?
Tefka: Port Antonio, Jamaica. We have very close family friends from the town and I’ve been going there since I was in utero. It’s all gorgeous beaches, laughing, family time on the veranda looking at the ocean and eating jerk pork.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “You Never Graduated - Social Media as High School” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.