Web technologies continue to foster discussion on a particular topic via forums, blog comments, etc. The model, despite having the feedback element, is essentially one way communication – the moderator doesn’t necessarily have to speak to each point. A topic is brought up as a news article on TV or in a newspaper, radio show, a blog post, etc, and then after the discussion, people are invited to comment. Good ideas and discussion points are buried in a sea of generally snide, off-topic remarks, usually days later.
That model is starting to change however, as we see more and more tools that “front load” the conversation leading up to an event or story, instead of after. The radio show, Open Source, has a great example of this – announcing topics weeks in advance and collecting thoughts and comments before the radio show is recorded. A decidedly richer conversation results, as everyone involved is much more enlightened (and improves the overall quality of the show).
We’re seeing this feedback model more and more with IdeasScale. For example, askthespeaker.org, where participants submitted topics and voted in preparation for a town-hall style discussion with Nancy Pelosi. At the time of the event, the top voted ideas were topics of discussion. How many times have you been at an talk where they open up the mic to questions at the end, and someone gets up there and just rambles on and on – not even asking a question? With this IdeaScale community, organizers of the event were able to streamline the conversation by cutting out the “riff-raff”, eliminate duplicate questions, and otherwise “pre-moderate” the discussion.
Another example is PTC Media, a website and podcast dedicated to Scouting news, events, discussion. A section of the show is actually dedicated to top ideas, comments, and new ideas that have been posted to the Boy Scouts of America Innovation Engine (an IdeaScale community as well). The is essentially driven by the community – with topics essentially chosen ahead of time.