So, I’ve been feeling this coming for a while now and have either put off saying something or just changed the subject.  I think we need to talk about our relationship.  And no, I’m not breaking up with you! 🙂  Instead, I want to take this relationship to the next level!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. I love comments on this blog. Why? Because every single one of them took thought, asks questions or adds to the conversation, and provides an opportunity for me to connect directly with all the smart people who read this blog.  I always (okay, 99.9% of the time) respond to comments via email and really value the exchanges that follow (whether they are on the blog or just in email).  I love this touch and go conversation so much that I want to take it to the next level!

2. I know you are smarter than I am. Why? Because I’m in a position by blogging away as I do to start conversations or serve as a convener for people looking to share ideas via the comments after blog posts but I’m not the one with all the answers or examples or tips.  We get all the good stuff when we come together and share.  So I want to do even more to create opportunities for that sharing and smartness to shine!

3. I’m ready to commit to this relationship. How? I’ve been blogging, facilitating, training, and collaborating with other amazing people in this space – technology and social change – for a while now and it’s no secret that this is my thing.  I’m not going anywhere.  I’m excited at the prospect of dedicating some consistent time to creating better dialogue for my readers and all of our colleagues!

Here the proposal:

Live weekly discussions hosted on this blog.

Who: You, me, and anyone else interested in listening or joining in.

Date: I am thinking Wednesdays because it is the day of the week I almost always am available without meetings or anything else.  I could be swayed by good argument for another day though.

Time: In order to get as many people as possible participating from the West Coast of the US all the way to Australia, well, I’m just not sure.  If it is 7 am in Australia, it’s 10 pm in London, and 2 pm in US Pacific.  That means we could all be awake, but 10 pm for me is not ideal for a mentally stimulating conversation!  What do others think?

Topic: I am open to just hosting, seeing who shows up, and having conversations as they develop organically.  Or, equally, having topics or even doing short presentations and then having conversation.  Or a mix.  What would you prefer? What would be most valuable to you?

We can start in September and give it a go for a while, evaluate together and continue iterating to co-create a valuable weekly conversation for all of us – that’s what community is all about, right?!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, ideas, and answers to the above questions to get some shape to the weekly discussion plan!

We Need to Talk: Up for a Weekly Date?
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  • jon_bedford: @amyrsward I’m in, sounds like a great idea; but not at 10pm… Waaay passed my bed time.

    amyrsward: @jon_bedford i know, right?! maybe if there’s 4 in a month, each can be at diff time: 9 am, 12 pm, 5 pm, 10 pm or something?

    jon_bedford: @amyrsward That sounds like a good idea, keep all the nations happy. You’re just like Koffi Annan.

  • I would do the convo whenever is most convenient for you and only change it if you get a lot of feedback one way or the other.

    How do you intend to setup the conversation?

  • Thanks, Richard – I appreciate the support and was feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about the scheduling (simply remembering even) of events that took place at different times each week, etc. I was thinking that I would just host an embedded text chat widget, that way participants would just have to come to the blog, and type (cut down on areas for issues with conference lines and all that). But I’m open to other ideas if you have any! Plus, with a text chat, it is easily turned into an archived transcript for those who can’t participate in real time.

  • Amy – sorry I missed this post! (Catching up reading my RSS feeds now.) I’m always game for something like this, but given my time zone (GMT+3), it’s a challenge to always include me. I think it would be great to know who the target audience/participants are that you have in mind – might shape the discussion. I’m up for it- and I LOVE the way you have phrased this as an open discussion. It’s a new way to break open (so to speak) the blog and make it more real-time discussion. Can I say it again? I love the concept – nice innovation!

  • Hey Debra-

    Thanks for your comment and questions (and support!!!). I’m still asking myself the same questions about audience, time, format, etc. I want this to be as open as possible but have lots of experience with discussions/events/anything that tries to appeal simultaneously to beginners, intermediate and advanced users of anything, let alone social media. So, with that in mind, I’m thinking of a process that would let people suggest questions or topics they would like to talk about and then I can let people know inadvance what questions/topics will be discussed and they can join in as they wish (either to hear what others say as they have the same question or to help provide insight). What do you think?

    I’m also interested in moving this into NTEN’s “Office Hour” project. The only reasons that I haven’t participated in that yet is because I was worried it would either be too difficult to pick a time 🙂 or that I would not be able to keep as open an approach as I would like. Perhaps I’ll take this opportunity to connect with my NTEN friends and see what they think!

    Thanks again, Debra – look forward to having you join the conversation if possible!

  • Holly and Anna (@ NTEN)-

    I’ve been tossing around the idea with various people of hosting chats on my blog for some time now, and finally wrote it up on the blog as an opportunity for feedback. I got lots of feedback on twitter (should go back and paste in all the feedback here as comments…)- mostly people saying they would be interested and would participate, etc. but, I’m conflicted because I’m SOOOO against recreating the wheel. The main driving forces behind this development are creating more valuable opportunities for the community here to connect with each other and to have a real-time conversation. As you can see from some of the info in the post above, as a reflection of these chats being for and with the community, I hope to keep them fairly open for any topics or questions that come up or people have that day. So, here’s my question: is there a way to turn these chats into NTEN Office Hours while maintaining the open structure? Also, is there a way to port transcripts of the chats back onto this blog so those who couldn’t participate can still have access to the conversation?

    I’m really looking forward to any direction these chats go and to see what kind of value we can create together!

    Thanks so much,

  • Hey Amy!

    So in short – we’re moving away from Office Hours. It was a fun experiment, but not quite right for the long haul. We still want community discussion, so we’re working on monthly chats with particular audiences. Right now, we have monthly roundtables set up for IT Staff and Marketing & Comm folks. See

    Of course,in our first marketing roundtable, it was all about the social media! But we did spend a little time on enewsletters.

    We run them the way we do most things, with a phone call + chat. If it makes sense, we would love to work together on those. We can play with time, etc. Did you have a particular topic in mind?

  • Hi Holly-

    Thanks for your ideas. Unfortunately, the roundtables have been on days/times when I am unavailable, including the September 25th one. The roundtable idea is definitely interesting, though!

    Part of my thinking for why I’d want these chats to be open and flexible is because I know I don’t have all the answers! I’d love to facilitate and provide information/resources when I can, but also help pull out resources, stories, an insights from others. Much more of a sharing, than a Q/A chat – anything to not call myself an expert!

    As far as topics go, as I said above in reply to Nancy, I’m open to a process where people submit ideas or questions and I pull out those that are somewhat related as the focus of the chat. Keeps it responsive to what is more pressing to the community as well as open for very wide-ranging topics month to month.

    How have the first three roundtables been? Have they been facilitated like I mentioned above or more just water cooler type conversations? I hadn’t thought of doing phone (mostly because I don’t personally have a conference line; and my experience with Net Tuesday conference calls has been that unless you only want to talk to people in US, Canada, and UK then it’s impossible) but think a phone + online chat could be interesting to test drive!

    It sounds like you are going to be reviewing your plans soon and I’d love to be part of that conversation as much as I can. If it turns out that the roundtables weren’t very popular, I’d be open to other options like a chat that you sponsor and I host or anything else.

    Thanks again!