Virtual Presenter Soapbox: A Live Stage For Everyone To Present Great Ideas
In the age of sharing, collaboration and real-time communications, wouldn't it be fantastic if anyone had the opportunity to present her ideas live to a real, sizable public audience? Why isn't it there yet a virtual presenter soapbox open to everyone?
Photo credit: Darko Novakovic
After the likes of Flickr (for images), YouTube (for videos), Slideshare (for slide presentations) why isn't there a public, open service that provides a live podium and a matching audience for those with great ideas to share?
Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could just go to such an online service and be provided with an easy-to-use toolset of communication, collaboration, presentation and promotion tools to make your voice be heard?
Why not support and leverage the growing crowd of live presenters and the valuable engagement, the attention, the following and the unique content that they could generate?
Virtual Presenter Soapbox: A Live Stage For Everyone To Present Great Ideas
by Robin Good
Sharing The Trend
If you look around, there is a growing number of professionals delivering online courses and webinars, as well as new online destinations devoted to provide know-how and expertise to both private or public audiences. Look at the emerging social learning networks and live learning marketplaces that have started to spring up.
These are all instances of an increasing move toward further expanding our communication venues and of a spontaneous, growing desire from individuals to share and present their ideas to others.
If you are already an expert, a successful corporate VP or a published book author, maybe you can get a few conference organizers to invite you to speak. But outside of this restrictive elite, there is little or no space for you to go out and present your ideas in front of an audience worth of that name. Yes, you may go to a barcamp or to a user-group organized event and share your PowerPoint and get a good kick out of it, but your reach remains usually limited to those attending and to the location of where you deliver it.
Wouldn't instead be wonderful if anyone had an online free resource to go to deliver and store live public presentations? While there are plenty of web conferencing services out there that one can sign up to, most tend to be internal, private communication tools, not venues through which "extend" and further distribute one own's message.
Think of a YouTube of public live presentations were presenters and audiences are matched to their topics of interest.
You have an idea to present about a new collaboration approach? Put the event info up and promote it to your networks and contacts. Then meet some basic requirements (must have presented before, to at least x number of people, has met a minimum quota of registrants, etc.) and then the system allows you to be matched to the platform extended audience by letting you expose your event info to those who have expressed interests in the same topics you cover. Log in on the date and time of your event and deliver your idea live to as many people you want while using the delivery approach of your choice. You don't have to worry about anything as the event is automatically recorded alongside its user-generated content artifacts (chats, whiteboards, images, etc.).
Finding The Nuggets
Yes, I know what you are thinking. You have seen the likes of YouTube and Flickr and you are afraid that this could be another gate to a flood of low-quality, useless, hard-to-browse stuff.
But, Wikipedia and Del.icio.us, and more recently FriendFeed, have found effective ways to keep spam and irrelevant stuff away while allowing most valuable content to be surfacing to the top or become readily accessible. They have all used their audiences to do the filtering.
By leveraging user engagement, not just for contributions but also for moderation and filtering, these UGC platforms have gradually learned how to clean their own junk, and to tap into their great stuff.
Great content could be surfaced by leveraging multiple metrics and indicators: followers, views, actual time on page, syndication, "likes", re-tagging, etc. By leveraging the convergence of social media metrics with classic web traffic and audience indicators it would probably be easier to let quality self-surface to the top.
What about the business side of things? How could this idea be made economically sustainable from a business standpoint?
Well, this is a tough one, my dear, but I have tried to put myself in the situation.
Here my starting points if I were to make my idea into a sustainable reality:
- Adopt a freemium approach. Allow for all basic live presentation and delivery services to be provided for free alongside paid premium services providing additional features to produce, deliver and distribute content more effectively. Consider automatic presentation transcriptions, translations, ability to widgetize and redistribute, commercial distribution via high-quality video downloads or DVDs, merchandising of your brand, co-partnering to promote your physical paid events and workshops, and so on.
- Extract and create valuable content from user contributions. Identify, remix, aggregate, edit and assemble high-quality content collections on specific themes or topics and turn them into high-priced niche learning solutions that could be commercialized to target corporate customers.
- Partner with a "presentation and communication skills" university to complement the natural need for live presenters and communicators to refine and improve their key professional skills.
- Create an intelligent system to support successful presenters into matching their talent and know-how with relevant brands or events looking for individuals with their traits and get a share of the pie.
- Adopt a social media marketing strategy. If such an idea sharing and presentation platform was to adopt the same social network marketing strategy that has made Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media community building venues so popular,it could rapidly build engaged, swarming audiences interested in specific topics.
- Utilize CC licensing for all content to be presented live allowing easy redistribution and encouraging editing, remixing and mashing up of it.
- Facilitate reach and distribution by providing a shareable, re-embeddable live events viewing platform to be integrated in any blog or web site.
- Centralize and manage all of the meta-information about such live events, creating value added services from it, while allowing maximum decentralization of the delivery of the live events.
Dream or Opportunity?
The new web is all about speaking from human to human in a true voice, without the false hypocrisy of corporate communications and traditional broadcast-style advertising communications. What you care about today is the people, the individuals and the ideas behind the companies and products you like to use.
But how many opportunities and venues are available for you to present your ideas and vision publicly and in front of a live, real audience?
My live public venue idea is both an exercise in virtual entrepreneuring as well as a vision for something that I would want but that's not there, yet.
It reflects my desires, passions and ideals and paints a scenario I think would benefit all of parties involved.
Individuals with ideas would have a new open venue to share them with those interested in it.
Better yet, such venue should enable them to more easily be matched with those potentially interested in listening.
Those seeking inspiration, models, guidance or a passionate follow-up conversation would find through this open platform a treasure trove of resources to attend, contribute or participate into.
Communities would spontaneously emerge around topics of interest and would generate further demand and consumption of additional live events.
Infrastructure provider would benefit from formidable exposure and from opportunity to engage specific communities with useful premium features and other alternative monetization approaches.
It's a wild idea, I know, but that's what I would really like to see: more people getting a chance to share their thoughts and ideas in front of a public audience, and a web conferencing company clever enough to recognize what appears to me as a unique marketing and commercial opportunity.
Originally written by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia, and first published on May 25th 2009 as "Virtual Presenter Soapbox: A Live Stage For Everyone To Present Great Ideas"
Robin Good -
Sharing The Trend - Didier Kobi
Finding The Nuggets - Ryan Pike
Business Factors - Alex Kalina
Dream or Opportunity? - Endhals
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