Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, September 18, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.
These sessions are hosted by Richard Seltzer. If you would like to receive email reminders of our chat sessions, simply send a blank email message to email@example.com or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/businessonthewebchats and sign up there.
For transcripts of previous sessions and a list of future topics, click here .
For an article on how to make "business chat" work (based on this experience), click here .
Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).
Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.
jo -- I WANT TOKNOW WHAT IS THE BIG SELLER IN PARIS
Richard Seltzer -- Jo, what do you mean by "big seller"? And please introduce yourself. Where are you? What are your interests?
Richard Seltzer -- We'll be starting at noon -- in about 7 minutes. We want to talk some more about the Social Web and the varieties of "community" experience and their implications for business. As you connect, please introduce yourselves and let us know your interests.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hello all. This is Bob Zwick an independant consultant from Texas.
Richard Seltzer -- Hi, Bob, glad you were able to make it. Sorry we haven't been able to connect with ICQ yet. I had a couple of good sessions chating with Kaye Vivian over that. Seems addictive.
anthony alvarez -- Good afternoon,
my name is Tony from Acunet; a ISP in
Andy Morrison -- Hello, I am Andy, Project Analyst for Integrated Network Solutions.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Tony and Andy.
Richard Seltzer -- Andy -- what kinds of projects are you involved in?
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Paul Tarquinio, please introduce yourself and let us know your interests.
Andy Morrison -- Researching the different products "out there" for e commerce...front-end, back-end, transaction processors
Richard Seltzer -- Andy -- Are you just interested in the transaction piece of e-commerce? Or also building audience and loyalty?
Andy Morrison -- Yes, I'm interested building an audience and loyalty. You have to to some degree to build a site that sells
Paul Tarquinio -- hi, I'm Paul Tarquinio. I work for DIGITAL in the Information and Performance Solutions group. I'm currently working on a project to develop a Web site to support field engineers - looking to create community - hoping to fine some pointers to sample Web sites that have successfully tackled this problem - especially for a typical audience.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hi Paul, Have lot of years working with field service engineers. Worked on an AI Field Engr. Support app. some time ago. Be glad to discuus off-line. Bob ICQ 779704
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Jim Dorval. Please introduce yourself and let us know your interests.
Jim Dorval -- Hi Richard (sorry, it's been a while.) [Dir. Engineering Services at Vivo] The people I talk to (who aren't tech weasels) about using the net have the same comment, they do not like the advertisements. When I follow-up in more detail, they actually like the creative and easy to follow ads, it's the more eclectic and "cool" material that they do not appreciate.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Lorne. Please introduce yourself and let us know your interests.
Richard Seltzer -- All -- one of the interesting new tools for "social" interaction on the Web is "instant messaging". I've been playing with ICQ from Mirabilis -- feels like the old VMS an d UNIX "talk" with some very interesting bells and whistles. AOL has something like it (Buddy). And there seem to be several others as well. (Is that capability built into Netscape browsers? There's so much stuff built into the browser these days that I can't keep track of it -- don't use much of it.)
Richard Seltzer -- Tony -- Have you tried ICQ or any of the other Web-based "instant messaging" systems? I know that you often use "talk" to connect with friends in the Far East. ICQ is really slick and doesn't seem to take much bandwidth.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - with a little programming Web site messages could be intelligently distributed to the appropriate reps ICQ pager for immediate actions. I had an interesting experience this week. I started a download at a commercial site and cancled it. In just a few minutes I received a phone call from the company asking if I had problems. They sent me the software via USPS. Now THAT's Customer service !
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- yes, that does sound like excellent customer service. I'd think that ICQ would be great for ISPs -- as a value-added service, to offer 24-hour access to service people, with no busy signals and "on hold".
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- ICQ would also be good for stepping newcomers through difficult processes -- giving them on-line training. They can be doing something locally or on the Web and at the same time carry on a live conversation with the trainer/support person using instant messaging.
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- Have you tried ICQ or other instant messaging? It would be a great way to tie together a team of field engineers. When one comes across a problem he/she can't solve right away, up comes the chat box and a bunch of them can put their heads together on-line. So both to connect the support/service folks to one another; and in other circumstances to link them to customers.
Paul Tarquinio -- How is this much different from sending mail?
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- With mail, there is lag time. With instant messaging, the other person sees what you are typing as you type it. It's very live. And you can pull a number of people into a session, creating a chat on the fly to talk about a common problem. You also get alerted with people in your selected group are on-line. Lots of neat stuff.
Richard Seltzer -- Re: ICQ -- interesting business model. When you sign up, they make it easy for you to send messages to friends you might want to hook up with, explaining what the software does and providing a link for a quick free download; and those people go into a queue, so as soon as they sign up, they get added to your group. Great marketing. No wonder they have had over 3 million downloads in the last year.
Paul Tarquinio -- Richard, regarding instant messaging, Altavista forum provides chat function and ability to invite members of a team to a chat conversation. Is this comparable functionality to ICQ?
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- I don't think that ICQ and AltaVista Forum compete. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I have a group of people who I have on my list and who have me on their list. When any of them come on-line I'm alerted and I can immediately begin a one-on-one session with them. If more folks come on-line, I can pull any of them over and expand to multi-person chat. The ICQ session appears in a compact Window and doesn't interfer with me doing several other things at once on the Web. I can leave messages for anyone on the group that they'll see as soon as they connect to the network (without having to log into email). So it's like an on-line pager as well as a talk system. Feels good.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- In ICQ you can have pre-recorded msgs or videos and send them to a user while chatting.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- that's interesting about sending audio and video while talking on ICQ. I feel I've just scratched the surface with that tool. Need more practice.
anthony alvarez -- What is ICQ? Where is the URL? Sorry i am late to the meeting. Please advise. Thank you.
Richard Seltzer -- Tony -- ICQ software is done by Mirabilis http://www.mirabilis.com
anthony alvarez -- It's still under development, but will be operational soon. The main selling point to my system is that my web-to-pager gateways also works with inexpensive digital numeric pager services. Most other offerings only work with the more expenisive Alpha paging services.
Richard Seltzer -- Tony -- Thanks for the pointer. I'll take a look. (ICQ's "paging" just reaches people on the Net; it doesn't have a tie in [yet] with wireless paging devices).
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- amen. Need more trying to serve the needs of a particular audience, rather than just trying to dump on the Internet content and business practices brought over from the past.
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- thanks for the pointer to Harvard-Square.com No, I haven't seen that. Do they do any interesting "social" things at the site? (things to help visitors connect with one another) Or is it mainly a local geographic resource, with lists of real-world events and stores, etc.?
Paul Tarquinio -- re: Harvard-Square.com - they provide forums such as input to favorite restaurants/dishes, and bulletin boards. they offer free Web home pages, hold contests, they personalize site by providing photos of local artists/ musicians on street. Also, coupons are available for discounts at local stores.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - could you tell us a little about what and why those services running in the background would be of intrest to you ?
Jim Dorval -- Vivo has a patented codec that only uses free cycles of the cpu to handle the different components of media processing. (http://www.vivo.com)
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- Yes, I could see vivo's software playing an interesting "social" role. Are you still focusing on pre-recorded audio/video? Or are you moving more toward live?
Jim Dorval -- The live version is a definite, the delivery mechanisms are currentl under negotiations.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- Regarding multitasking and stuff running in the background -- at a simple level, providing RealAudio sound that guides you through various tasks at a Web site, and maybe ICQ support for you to ask questions when the standard fare doesn't help -- a mixture of pre-packaged content and direct interaction with people from the site or other visitors.
Jim Dorval -- My questions is: What would be the perfect solution?
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - in that respect some of the Presentation tools available let you build a site with imbedded audio and video. That alows a viewer to click on voice explanations or videos. It is however static and there is no human intervention.
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- I get the feeling that many different companies are converging toward that "ideal" from many different starting points. You want to make it easy for people to connect with people. YOu'd like it to be as full and rich and complete an interaction as possible. Text is fine for starters,but you want to add audio and video. Some, like Vocaltec, started with phone and have added video. Some, like CUSeeMe from White Pine, started with video and added audio. Some, like Vivo (am I accurate) seem to have started with prepackaged video and are moving toward live as well. Lots of convergence. (including stuff from Netscape and Microsoft)
Richard Seltzer -- Placeware is set up as an auditorium or lecture hall. Up to seven speakers can be on stage, showing slides, with a white board they can edit on the fly. The audience sits in rows and can chat by text and/or voice with others in their row. The audience can ask questions or raise their hands to be recognized by the speaker. The speaker can use both text and voice. You can carry on a one-on-one discussion (text or voice) with someone in the audience while seeing or hearing the main presentation. Looks interesting. And seems to scale well for audiences up to 500. (Audiences beyond that would require more powerful hardware than they use right now.) The public site is for demo-type events to show how it can be used. They appear to be in the business of selling the software. Others might want to get into the business of renting out auditorium space for events.
Richard Seltzer -- Regarding Placeware, I was testing their site with Sudha Jamthe and others from Web-Net, with the idea of maybe using that to make one of their regular meetings available over the Web (for folks outside the Boston area). Do any of you know of groups that have successfully done that kind of thing? (Doing a real-world meeting and an on-line meeting simultaneously).
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- yes, it's high time I tried out Netmeeting. I understand that it can include audio and video. What are the limitations in terms of the number of people who can connect for a meeting? Has anyone actually used it to conduct a business meeting? Or are most folks still just experimenting?
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- regarding motivating users to come to a "community" site, my belief is that the best motivator is other people -- that you want to get visitors to interact with one another at your site, to provide content for your site; and you want to index all that content at AltaVista and the other major search engines, so your site will be found. I'm very interested in hearing of other motivation methods.
Paul Tarquinio -- how do you get users to participate. One problem is that so many people are over extended - can barely find time to keep up with their own problem solving issues - what is motivation to take time to provide solutions for problems they have already solved?
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- Yes, it is difficult to get people to participate. Particularly difficult to start from scratch. Once the snowball is rolling the users themselves and what they are saying and how they are interacting provide incentive to return and to tell others about it. But starting is becoming increasingly difficult -- because of the enormity of the choices -- on similar subjects -- just a click away.
Richard Seltzer -- Electric Minds seems to be trying to draw people (http://www.minds.com) by creating a community of communities. While other sites give away free Web space, Electric Minds gives away (or rents at very low cost), a wide variety of capabilities, packaged as "communities."
Paul Tarquinio -- Richard, thx, I'll check out Electric Minds
Jim Dorval -- I would suggest that the group of people be based on companies that are successfully selling products on the net. They should have information as to what needs to be done to strengthen the future of the net. $$$$$ That's what it's really all about.
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- Interesting point. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that somewhere sometime somebody has to pay the bills. It's so easy getting caught up in a great scheme of giving things away with the idea of generating money from something else later. But the question is -- when is later? And by then will someone else be giving that away, undercutting the business plans you have been working to set up for.
Paul Tarquinio -- regarding making money, Harvard-square.com provides space for vendor's home page - vendor can create own home page for free. But Millennium will contract with vendors to create their home pages.
Richard Seltzer -- Paul -- another model is to give away a little bit of free Web space, like giving away a potato chip, and then charge for upgraded premium services -- more space, more design help, etc. That's what Tripod does (apparently). That seems to make sense (more sense than depending on advertising revenues). But I'd like to know more about who the economics of that approach works.
Richard Seltzer -- All, as usual, I'll post the edited transcript (reconstructing threads of discussion) in a day or two. Check http://www.samizdat.com/#chat
Richard Seltzer -- All -- please send me followup email to firstname.lastname@example.org Both comments for posting with the transcript and also suggestions regarding future topics and people/companies we should invite to join us.
Richard Seltzer -- All -- please join us again next Thursday and please spread the word.
Paul Tarquinio -- Paul Tarquinio Tarquinio@mail.dec.com Thanks Richard.
Jim Dorval -- Jim Dorval. Thanks
Richard, see you in two weeks (I am getting married)
email@example.com http://www.vivo.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- Congratulations!
I conducted a full day seminar yesterday with corporate communications professionals on a variety of technology topics. Number one, to no one's surprise, was corporate intranets, their uses, and their relationship to external web sites.
Today in reading some new material I came across the NetWork Computing (July 31,1997) (http://techweb.cmp.com/nc/810/810f38.html) study on Web communications salaries and as I read their survey results, I found an interesting section that made me think it would be good to have another discussion about public and private webs and electronic commerce and customer support/service. Here are a couple of tidbits from that study.
<<Interestingly a large percentage of Web sites are also used for internal communications, thus indicating that a clear line between a public and a private Web site has not yet been drawn in most corporations. Web sites are getting more serious than just flash-31.1 are used for customer support and 17 percent are used for order taking and order fulfillment. Almost 14 percent are being used for electronic commerce, which is significant given the newness of the technology.>>
<<Viewed from the outside, the intranet is sometimes considered the toy of the IT department, yet our research shows that while IT is a major user of the intranet, nontechnical departments like human resources, sales/marketing and customer service are also major users. The lagging departments (or the ones with the greatest opportunities to take advantage of the intranet) are manufacturing and warehouse/distribution.>>
My communications colleagues take great issue with the statement that the IT people "own" Intranets. Their position is that IT should own the pipeline/architecture, but that the corporate communications people should control what flows through the pipes. Many companies have not yet worked out that the IT people are not the best people to have determining what corporate messages should be distributed, and in what format.
I have clients with manufacturing operations and in the distribution business, and they do not make good use of these new communication vehicles for a number of reasons. I would be interested in a discussion of how to break down barriers with the business divisions, such as manufacturing, not currently using web technology. (Hardware and software and training are always issues, as is privacy of displaying a person's personal data, such as at a kiosk. But there must be reasons from the users' sides as well that they are not clamoring for access.)
Am getting caught up on transcripts for the last four chats and am particularly interested in the cybercommunity topic. Just thought I'd let you know that I posted my cybercommunity bookmarks (about 180) a few weeks ago online http://www.geocities.com/~webwinds/classes/cybercom.htm
Am slowly putting up all 59 of my bookmark files for friends and students (at my geocities site), and also wondering if there's a market for selling 59 exceptional Netscape bookmark files on a variety of topics (about 20,000 in all).
Also, I'm surprised that the discussion of community online didn't venture into a discussion of mailing lists. I've had a number of intensive community experiences online, resulting in some f2f meetings and even shared vacations with group members. The most meaningful community experiences have been between 3 - 9 months in duration, related to the Netdynam mailing list, the Teaching Online training course at cybercorp.net (using cybercorp's Moo, a message board and chat room), and the Simgroup group therapy online experiment (which consists mostly of psychotherapists, continues now with a new time-limited group, and uses both a mailing list and Grassroots Moo).
Also some community experience at Electric minds.
Some of my friendships from these "community" experiences continue.... even though each of these experiences were time-limited.
I also want to add although I have a site at geocities and recommend geocities, a web site with web pages for members, bulletin boards and chat rooms does not make a community. In my own experience, community has a lot more to do with a committed and caring bond between members, a willingness towork at making the interpersonal relationships and dynamics meaningful and engaging, and to hang in with each other as conflicts develop, and an ongoing sense of involvement and responsibility in regard to the group as a whole.
I've experienced that other factors contributing to building online groups and communities include a strong sense of common purpose and stimulating discussions and personal sharings that really draw people to visit, participate, and make repeated posts. Having a moderator with real facilitating skills also helps (by the way folks, I'm a psychotherapist and group facilitator as well as an Internet trainer and author of numerous psychological books, and could be available for hire for such a role).
Finally, there were some stimulating discussions of community online (all kinds) on the Ny Times Forums from May-July. They're still there - about 12 or so bulletin boards starting at http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/050697community.html OR http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@^4979@.ee7ff9c
Tracy Marks, M.A. email@example.com http://www.windweaver.com
Please join us Thursday, October 2. We expect and hope that two Internet-community pioneers and gurus will be joining us: Howard Rheingold and Chris Locke.
Howard is the author of seminal book Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (Addison Wesley, 1994). He also is the founder of Electric Minds http://www.minds.com, which uses CommunityWare software (a "social operating system") to help members build their own virtual communities.
Chris masterminded and has been involved in a variety of Web-based community experiments, beginning with the ambitious early effort known as MecklerWeb, back in the fall of 1994.
We'd like to learn more about what it does to build a Web business around community/social experiences. What works? What doesn't work? Why? And the challenge of trying to win and earn the attention and loyalty of Web visitors when the number of competing choices becomes astronomical.
MecklerWeb is old news.
On the other hand, I would have loved to tell folks of my zine, Entropy Gradient Reversals (see sig) and my recent scribblings for Microsoft -- they've asked me to do a regular column on the IE "Start" pages. first one is at: http://home.microsoft.com/reading/archives/voices-8-4.asp and my "proposal" to them is at: http://www.panix.com/~clocke/EGR/pitch.html
Entropy Gradient Reversals, All Noise - All the Time http://www.panix.com/~clocke/EGR
Ahhh! THAT Chris Locke!! :) :)
I had forgotten his name. I have been a fan of Entropy Gradient Reversals for nearly a year! I discovered him when I was doing some work with the Mining Co.--Chris and Scott Kurnit (pres. of Mining Co.) apparently worked together at Prodigy. Chris did a fabulous parody of the Mining Co.'s guide development process. I have his e-zine bookmarked and have recommended it to EVERYONE who is looking for real ingenuity and creative sparkle. I love his bizarre and literate and whacky point of view! It gets the dusty brain cells whirling. What atreat, Richard! Thanks. :) You can forward this to him if you want. I'm looking forward to it a lot...though I have to say, having read his rapier wit on the screen, I will be intimidated to lock horns with him<g>...
You and members of your chat community might find it worthwhile to subscribe to the Forum One report emailed monthly from http://www.forumOne.com . It focuses on news about web site forums (online message boards), forum software, forums and business etc.
The current report focuses on the "economic viability of web forums" and the role of forums in establishing online community...
"* ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF WEB FORUMS?: In the book "Net.Gain" , Arthur Armstrong and John Hagel argue for the future economic viability of online communities. Their conclusions are based principally on theory, since they wrote the book when web-based communities were new.
"In this issue of Forum One Report we ask the opinions of four experts who run major web-based communities regarding the future economic viability of such communities.....
"FORUM ONE REPORT is a monthly publication prepared by Jim Cashel <cashel@ForumOne.com> and Dave Witzel <dave@ForumOne.com> of Forum One Communications Corporations. If you would like to be included in or excluded from this mailing list, please write report@ForumOne.com.
"Comments and information are welcome.
"Forum One Communications maintains the Forum One Index <http://www.ForumOne.com> tracking over 117,000 web discussion forums, and also provides consulting services to organizations building or maintaining online communities."
Tracy Marks, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.windweaver.com
When: Tuesday October 7, 1997 7PM
Where: Nashua, NH Public Library, 2 Court St, Nashua, NH.
Topic: The Social Web
Speaker: Richard Seltzer, Author and Internet Evangelist
The NH INTERNET SIG (Special Interest Group) welcomes you to its monthly meeting, the first Tuesday of every month.
The next meeting features Richard Seltzer, an Internet Evangelist in the Internet Business Group at Digital Equipment Corporation. Richard, along with his wife Barbara, runs B&R Samizdat Express, a small book publisher. Richard also has written several books and articles. He also hosts a weekly online chat session, Business on the World Wide Web.
If you want to find out more information about Richard, please visit his web page:http://www.samizdat.com/
For a preview of the session, you may view the slides: http://www.samizdat.com//oak/atitle.htm
The preface and intro to Richard's new book is: http://www.samizdat.com/socpref.html and http://www.samizdat.com/socintro.html
For more information contact Ken Adams at (603) 598-1823 eMail: email@example.com
Jerry Feldman <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
NH-ISIG meeting coordinator.. Mailing list: email@example.com To subscribe, send email to:firstname.lastname@example.org With the word, subscribe, in the body. http://www.nh-isig.org
Directions to the Nashua Public Library. All parking if free after 5PM.
From South of Nashua: Take Route 3 North to Nashua. Take exit 5E, Route 111 East (Kinsley St., There is a Howard Johnson's Motel at the exit). Follow 111 East (Kinsley St.) to the fourth set of lights and Main St. North. Turn left onto Main St. and at the third set of lights turn right onto Temple St. Take Temple St. to 2nd left onto Cottage Avenue (Behind Indian Head Plaza) into Library's metered parking lot.
From North of Nashua: Take the Everett Turnpike (Rte. 3) to Exit 7-E, 101A (Amherst St.) Follow 101A to major intersection and turn right onto Main St. Follow Main St. and turn left at the second set of lights onto Temple St. Take Temple St. to 2nd left onto Cottage Avenue (Behind Indian Head Plaza) into Library's metered parking lot.
Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats -- www.samizdat.com/chat.html
To connect to the chat room, go to www.samizdat.com/chat-intro.html
The full text of Richard Seltzer's books The Social Web, Take Charge of Your Web Site, Shop Online the Lazy Way, and The Way of the Web, plus more than a hundred related articles are available on CD ROM My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities.
Business Boot Camp: Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs,
and professionals by Richard Seltzer (Wiley, 2002).
No-nonsense guide targets activities that anyone can perform to achieve
a library for the price of a book.
This site is Published by B&R Samizdat Express, 33 Gould St., West Roxbury, MA 02132. (617) 469-2269. email@example.com
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