The Social Media 201 should have been booked in a room twice the size. Our hosts Brendan Greeley and Andy Carvin did a great job of expanding on the usefulness of RSS feeds and explaining Technorati and Google Blog Search functions. We discussed the relative merits of registration (ie. valid email, zip code) and to what degree asking for this kind of information can act as a disincentive to participation on public media sites. (photo:dsearles/flickr)
A lot of folks brought up the usual doomsday scenarios and worried long and loud about credibility and civility in discourse. Both Andy and Brendan leaned strongly away from the idea of active moderation, suggesting that moderation sets you up for failure. Both suggest that you need give the community flagging tools to eject trolls, axe grinders and other ne'er-do-wells. Brendan suggested that you simply need to trust that the community will police itself, and deal with the consequences as a problem arises.
This paranoia about blogs and social media experiments is something I think about frequently, considering all of the lip service paid to the special "trust relationship" between the audience and public broadcasters. I'm struck by the apparent hypocrisy implied by our resistance to true engagement, and the impulse Brendan identified toward "ghettoization" of public commentary on news sites. It seems to me, that just as in any healthy relationship, trust means trust. It's a two-way street.
One other noteworthy comment from Open Source's Blogger in Chief, who made the following (paraphrased) remarks about the listener blogger community:
Everyone worries about how to punish offenders or how to solve problems - but what people don't realize is that once the community organizes, your major concern quickly shifts to 1. how to handle the massive flow of "good stuff," 2. what to do with it, and 3. how to let people know that you are paying attention.
There was some discussion of how to use Technorati and Google Blog Search to find good story and program ideas, by linking into the mundane detail of real people's lives.
On the video side, Andy said that Blip.tv is a good video provider because it doesn't force you into branding like You Tube, and it is more respectful of copyright issues.
Brendan recommended one of my favorites, Andrew Sullivan's blog, "The Daily Dish" as good example of how to effectively integrate photos, video and storytelling.
WNYC is developing an open source player that will be embeddable in blogs as a way to present public media content in the blogosphere, and to encourage linkbacks to the station site.