November 30, 2001, Newsletter Issue #14: Making Online Discussions Work

Tip of the Week

Often the main reason for holding regular live chat sessions is to begin related on-going, time-independent forum discussions.

Real-time discussion is compelling; and having a specific time to connect directly with the experts makes the discussion a priority. The fact that you can post to a forum at any time is both a convenience and a major weakness, because we all procrastinate when given a chance. That`s why standalone forums tend to be so sparsely populated with content.

The live chats are intended to generate content and interest, and to give people a good reason to participate now, rather than later. They are not an end in
themselves, but rather a means to making the overall discussion/community experience work.

Relatively free-form chats give people a chance to speak up without being overly constrained by structure. They should help you to identify topics/threads for followup in
forums. They also should provide interesting content for newsletters/email messages intended to draw in more
active participants.

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