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Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

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March 28, 2005

Would invited conversations increase connection between blogs?

how to save the world has an interesting post that references the author's exchange of ideas with Jeremy Heigh, of the sift everything experiment, in the post A Proposal to Make Blogs More Conversational.

The idea is to increase discussion between some selected blogs by inviting bloggers to comment on a set topic. The idea has some merit as unlimited conversation has been severely limited under current spam onslaughts and through the limitations on tracking pings, trackbacks, etc to facilitated threading in conversations. The idea, as presented below, also uses a variety of technologies to maximize the interaction between the invited participants.

Here's a first cut at how I would envision it working:

1. The host would come up with either (a) a question (one better suited to small-group exploration than 'putting to the crowd'), or (b) a vision to be achieved. Example: How could we overcome the huge disconnect that exists today between the people who have great ideas and the people who have the money and other resources to realize those ideas? The host would write a 1-3 paragraph context-setting explanation of the question or vision.

2. The host would research who might be the best 3-10 people to address this question or vision. These invited participants would each think independently about the question or vision and each produce an Initial Thoughts document (200-500 words) which the host would publish on the host blog. Then, at and for a prescribed time, there would be a 'live' conversation via Skype, moderated by the host, between the selected participants.

3. The Initial Thoughts and the edited Conversation would then be podcast and the mp3 of the podcast would be posted on the host blog. The conversation would be transcribed and posted to the host blog. The participants would post either a link to the transcript and podcast, or, if they wanted, they could post the entire transcript and/or podcast on their own site, with a request that all comments be posted to the host blog version (so that all the comments are in one place).

4. The facility for additional individual posts (participants would get short-term author access on the host blog), and additional Skype conversations as agreed upon by the participants (also transcribed) would be made available on the host blog for a set period (3 days, or a week perhaps).

5. An archive of all conversations, posts and comments could be produced and sent to movers and shakers who might be inclined to act on the ideas that emerged, for those movers and shakers who do not normally go online.

And here are the inevitable questions:

* If you were asked to participate in one of these, would you, and why -- WIIFY?

* Is the blog format robust enough to carry the weight of one of these Conversations?

* Do you see this as a way to get more buzz for important ideas, or is it just a big echo chamber replacing a lot of smaller ones?

* Would you spend the time listening or reading to these Conversations (if you liked or knew the participants)?

* Is there some commercial opportunity here, or is this just a good way to get bloggers working together, or is it not even that?

* Is the model (participation by invitation) too elitist? Would self-subscription on a first-come basis be better? What's the 'right' number of participants?

What are your thoughts on this idea to link a selected set of bloggers together in discussion?

Note: The graphic is part of my comment on the over all structure of the idea and the possibility for a single set of voices to utilize the available technologies, none of which are cheap, to maximize their views without the inclusion of difference. It will take conscience management to make sure that multiple voices are allowed to flourish in an "invitation only" environment.

Posted by prolurkr at March 28, 2005 06:18 PM

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