I went to the Social Media Club meeting this evening here in New York. I’m astonished and inspired by how far this has come in a year. This started rolling last year at the Web 2.1 unconference, and continued with a BrainJam a couple months later. Now Chris Heuer is jetting around (he just flew in from London) talking to people about this stuff.
As usual, I was more of an observer than a participant. At the beginning, when everybody else was introducing themselves as being from PR agencies or non-profit organizations or various wire services, I said “I represent only myself”, which was true, but funny. But once the discussion got started, I jumped in with a couple observations and felt like I contributed.
One idea that Chris mentioned was “adopt-a-blogger”, where experienced bloggers could take a neophyte under their (virtual) wing and teach them how to use the tool, and more importantly, give them encouragement. He said that even just having somebody poke a beginning blogger every week or two to say “Hey, haven’t seen anything new from you recently!” might be enough to get new bloggers into the habit. And it’s true – I totally get warm fuzzies from comments, and even just knowing a couple people are out there reading makes a big difference (thanks Beemer and Jofish and Seppo and Batman!).
I was thinking about this during the meeting, and tying it into my thoughts on the psychological principles of consistency where we try to live up to our public statements of ourselves and thinking that it would be a really validating thing to have a site where people came by whatever you were doing and offered encouragement. It would be similar to the principle behind Team in Training, where it’s much easier to do this ridiculous training when there’s somebody else there doing it with you.
In this case, people would post goals or writing or pictures or whatever they wanted encouragement on. Users would have to post a certain number of comments on other people’s work (with the software offering pointers towards less trafficked work) before their own work would be published for comment. It would have a couple interesting effects I think; one, it would expose people to a lot of work they were not previously aware of, and two, it would provide a venue for feedback. I suppose it would be easy to game the system, where you just write pro forma comments to get one’s own work posted, but there could be mechanisms for dealing with that (e.g. EBay type ratings where people give certain raters a thumbs down for being useless (which is not the same as being negative)).
Anyway. It’s a thought. I wanted to jot it down before it disappeared. I’ve got a few more posts I’ll try to develop at some point. In my copious free time. Yeah.
Technorati tag: socialmediaclub