The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

10 Tips For Hosting On-line Discussions

An excellent set of tips gleaned from a number of clients that are dipping their toes into the "online/real-time discussions" (think whole company same time IM and/or blogging).
  1. Ensure someone guides the group towards its purpose.
    What is the outcome we want to achieve?
  2. Help create a sense of community at the beginning - introduce fellow members, introduce the topic (include some of your thoughts) and encourage people to share their thoughts
  3. Acknowledge contributions and support discussions with further questions (eg how to achieve this etc)
  4. Stimulate/throw open discussions.
  5. Manage what's 'lost in translation':
    • its much easier for things to be misinterpreted on-line - assume goodwill/positive intent in the first instance to avoid triggering conflicts
    • check out assumptions being made in the discussion
  6. Inclusion – appeal to both common ground and diversity e.g. "has anyone had any experiences/thoughts that have been similar/different?"
  7. 'Moderating' - manage any 'over-contributors', ensure contributions meet corporate principles etc
  8. Summarise and 'harvest' - close the topic off with a synthesis/summary of what evolved during the interaction.
  9. Connecting people - Spot opportunities to encourage ongoing discussions after the on-line chat session.
  10. Provide a visible closure for the event.
    Ensure the event doesn't dissolve into nothingness and dissipate group energy.

With all of these types of "hints and tips" I think we all agree that they are mostly comprised of commonsense and politeness. The only one that warrants a little extra focus is #5, we all know that sarcasm and ambiguity thrive in the online world, be careful. Especially be careful around the trap of thinking you are closer (emotionally) to someone than you really are just because you've had a long online chat with them - you don't, and witty and clever banter usually misfires.

I also applaud #9 - the best communities are those that exist and thrive beyond the on-line world.

In essence, be polite, be focused and act as you would talking face-to-face.


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