How to host an online conversation

Following on from the last post on joining the conversation as being essential to get the tone right, I just found this piece from the OJB‘s Paul Bradshaw (here are some edited highlights; find the full story here):

An online journalist should be a mix of the ideal party guest and the ideal party host, taking part in – and stimulating – conversations in a number of ways:

  • Be involved in your communities.
  • Open up your own work for others to contribute editorially.
  • Make your content portable by providing an RSS feed; widgets users can place on their webpages; wikis for them to edit; or even raw data for mashups.
  • Respond to contributions.
  • Show explicitly that you are part of the conversation, by linking to sources (who will in turn know that they are being quoted either through pingback or traffic)
  • Listen! That means reading blogs, forums and other media in their sector, and then starting from the beginning again: comment, respond, link, open up.

It reminds me of how on citizen journalism sites, there is usually a team of professional facilitators behind the scenes who help the content and contributions come alive and pull out the growing stories.

Of course, the image of being both a party host and a guest sounds a lot nicer.

But essentially it is a way to think of a potential future role for journalists – particularly sub-editors and copy editors who like to have the overview – rather than focusing on feeling defunct in the new media age.

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