where "word of keystroke" begins

November 13, 1997 -- The Social Web: varieties of "community" experience and the Placeware on-line auditorium

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, November 13, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time (GMT -5) 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 or go to 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.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):

Today's Participants


[Due to technical difficulties some people were unable to connect, others were unable to post, and much of the transcript was corrupted. What's here is the best that I could salvage. Sorry for the inconvenience. This is the first time we've encountered problems of this kind, and we do not expect them to recur.]

Donald Smith -- This is my first experience here. I would like to talk about investment capital...where to find it...what works best.

dbuck -- I'm from Canada. Where do you think bond prices are going in this market?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- we'll be starting in about 5 minutes. Please introduce yourselves as you connect and let us know your interests. That will help us get started quickly.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- Today, we plan to continue our discussion about the Social Web -- the people-to-people aspect of doing business on the Internet; and also to discuss our experience in experimenting with the Placeware auditorium last week. As usual, we are also always interested in other topics related to business on the world wide web. Please introduce yourselves and let us know your interests.

Warren Agin -- Hello, its been a long time since I was able to stop in to the chat, but here I am.

hduggan -- Hello. I'm Heather Duggan from the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm interested in virtual collaboration, especially between independent businesses.

Technical difficulties

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I'm having difficulty with my connection to Web-net. Are others also experiencing problems?

Richard Seltzer -- I was just blocked out for five minutes myself. I hope it was just a transient glitch). Please let me know if you are having problems posting.

Warren Agin -- I had some problems too Richard.

hduggan -- Yes, I had problems connecting at first. 

Distance Education

Kaye Vivian -- I can't say with a great deal of authority what's happening in online education, but it's clear that there are several approaches that work for different needs. The University of Phoenix has credit courses online (I think several Masters and Bachelors programs) and they use a combination of group discussion, forum postings on course content, and one on one interaction with instructors...I think the rate is $135 per 8 hours. That's the only university I have looked into and they seem to have a good formula...certainly they were the first to (visibly) leap into the Net as a viable education tool. On the other end of the spectrum is a different approach...Ziff-Davis' ZDUniversity. It's a self-paced, low cost ($5 per month) offering of topics that you can access and read about. Less interactive, though they do offer forum discussions. What I like is how some corporations and non-profits are starting to use self-paced text seminars online for Continuing Professional Education. Along the lines of what you do, Richard, by putting up your Powerpoint presentations on your web site. They create CPE courses on new tax laws or how to build an intranet or whatever, and at the end of the "course" have a questionnaire you complete to be sure you learned the material, and then you can get credit for it. That's pretty hot right now in the accounting and legal professions, where professional staff have mandated annual CPE requirements to keep them in top form in their field.

Richard Seltzer -- Kaye -- thanks very much for the distance ed info. That area is growing fast. I'd like to cover it as a chat topic sometime soon.

Marc Nozell -- Re: online universities, the Internet International Genealogy Society ( is building a section for various genealogy classes.

Kaye Vivian -- Marc, that sounds very useful. I have been thinking to resume dabbling in my own family history, and it would be useful if they offered a course in what's happening now and what resources are available. I used to do genealogy the old fashioned way...with Microfilm readers and photocopied records and mail! I will check it out.

Marc Nozell -- Kaye, stop by my website and follow the links to the genealogy info. Especially if you have ancestors in Orange County, New York! ;-)

Kaye Vivian -- Richard, I might have a couple more URLs I can give you for distance education. I'll double check. I know I have bookmarks to at least 15-20 sites, but most are individual topics related to business. And of course, many of them are professional trainers' web sites where they offer the courses for a fee.

Richard Seltzer -- Kaye -- please send all the distance ed/training pointers you have. sounds good. 


Rick van Valkenburg -- It is a program that gets your current IP number and will both post it to a page on your own site and to a "dyanmic" IP server. People can paste the IP number into their chat program or use the "Web Chat" function that is built in.
An example is at the URL I provided. I't only for Windows (95 or NT) and users should have a WWW server on their pc like Ms Personal WWW server.

Rick van Valkenburg -- Dyanmip is FREE!

Richard Seltzer -- Rick -- thanks for the info. Sounds something like ICQ instant messaging from Mirabilis. I'll have to check it out. Does it work with one particular web chat program/plugin?

Kaye Vivian -- Richard, I was just going to say the same thing...Dynamip deos sound like ICQ or the AOL ...what is it called..Messenger?

Richard Seltzer -- Kaye -- yes the AOL version of instant messaging is called "Buddy". I'd say there's an opportunity for someone to come up with software that lets you participate in several different kinds of instant messaging (if not all) at the same time -- one client that works with all the services. (I hate having to bounce from one to the other.)

Rick van Valkenburg -- Of course, Dynamip would be more ideal for small group-work-chat... I don't know how many could chat at once... It has a web chat function built in, but it is not a t a self contained chat client. You can use it with another chat
client like WinChat.

Kaye Vivian -- Rick, we always face that problem, don't we? As long as we use keyboards, there's a physical limit to how many discussion threads, how to organize the agenda and get it covered...and how to keep people from walking all over each other. I have not been in a group larger than 6-7 online that could function with any accuracy...unless all the users were quite experienced and could follow multiple tracks at once. 

Mailing lists

Richard Seltzer -- Matt and Marc, I also find mailing lists very helpful. But it's all a matter of how you manage it. If there is a moderator who is making selections the traffic can stay at a reasonable level and the

Kaye Vivian -- Marc, I agree on preferring the smaller lists. They do promote community. I joined a small listserv last year on proposals. It was quiet for a very long time, then suddenly a topic hit that grabbed about 15 of us, and the process of discussing that topic over weeks led to a lot of personal side discussions, exchanges of business, and even hiring each other for specific consultation we needed. None of us had really known the others before that, and the act of dashing off messages to support, refute or confirm information simply reveals a lot about the character and personality and knowledge of the individuals. (I like to communicate, as you can tell by my long messages!) It's been a very rewarding experience, I think, for all involved in this small group. I, for one, have built a small mailing list of the key people from this group, and I occasionally just e-mail to them. 


Richard Seltzer -- This is like ham radio -- I have no idea how many messages I may have missed because some glitch blocked the posting. (I certainly can't believe that with the number of "occupants" up around 20 right now, people are saying as little as I'm seeing. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for staying with us. And please be sure to come back next week when this will be fixed, and when we'll expand our social discussion to cover Bazaars from Acunet, which seems to have the potential for being a store-front equivalent of a geocities or Tripod.
Richard Seltzer -- All -- the hour is ending. Thanks very much for your patience. Please send those unexpressed thoughts to me by email Please check for the transcript And please join us next Thursday, for a chat about Bazaars and related matters. (REmember the Thursday after that is Thanksgiving.)

Rick van Valkenburg -- Thanks for having us!

Kaye Vivian -- Thanks all for the very brief chat! See you next week, Richard. Bye :) 



From: Rick Van Valkenburg <> Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 18:35:00 EST

After posting that URL for the Dynamic IP Server (DIPS) URL for DynamIP I had trouble accessing the pages. I guess they're having some server problems. (1st time to my knowledge that has happened)

Another URL for the site is at:

I really think that this DynamIP and other programs that use Dynamic IP servers and upload updated URLs really bring out the democratic potential of the Internet and keep up the reputation as an equalizer:

Small businesses can use a dial-up account to maintain links to an in-house SSL server from their virtual domain host and/or run scripts to pull info from an in-house database... Or allow for password-access extranet for clients. Modest traffic for small text-file uploads could be handled easily from such an arrangement. Use the virtual domain for most traffic, linking to in-house servers for secure transactions, data access and collaboration.

Rick van Valkenburg 


From: Heather Duggan <> Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 07:03:29 -0700

I attended your business chat last week and was interested in an application you mentioned that allowed a presenter to guide an audience through several web sites. You mentioned it in relation to a discussion you had with someone from Digital.

Unfortunately, I can't find that snippet in the transcript.

Do you recall what it was?



Reply --

Thanks for joining us. Sorry for the technical problems. The site I mentioned was I believe their product is called "itinerary." I heard about it, but haven't had a chance to check it out.

(Sorry that was in the section of the transcript that was corrupted/unreadable.)

Best wishes.

Richard Seltzer

Distance Education -- recommended sites

From: Kaye Vivian <> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 17:39:18 -0500

At the chat last week I mentioned some online education links and wanted to follow up with the actual references. There's some good, interesting and very reasonably priced education available on the web!

Kaye Vivian

University of Phoenix Online

Caso's Internet University (searchable database)

ZDNet University

Report: Who's Using CBT? (and other good story links)

Article: Interactive Learning--Computer based learning is a smart way to teach clients http://

Article: CPE Vendors Grapple with Internet Usage

Low-cost store fronts - Virtualspin and Viaweb

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 15:26:16 -0500

I'm going to be setting up a storefront for an antiques store soon and am just now researching I'm very interested in the topic. Here are the two low-cost storefront setups that have been recommended (big review in recent pc mag, I think) that I'm checking out...and I'd like to dialogue with anyone that's tried either. Both involve hosting.... AND

Also I just heard a rave about this shopping cart setup:

Tracy Marks, M.A. 

Future chat topics - Distance education and email lists

From: Tracy Marks <> Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 15:40:39 -0500

Just read over the last transcript --

DISTANCE EDUCATION: I've taken seven courses online now including an intensive course on TEACHING ONLINE (also a number of courses at ZDU) and would be happy to dialogue further on the subject. I also have a set of distance education bookmarks that's almost 100kb in size - over 500 links. Will post them on my geocities site where I post many of my bookmark files IF there's demand enough for them.

MAILING LISTS: One of my primary experiences on the Net has been studying online communication in mailing lists...and I've been involved in several experimental closed mailing lists devoted to this subject - Netdynam (which is open), Simgroup (an experimental group-therapy group for psychotherapists studying therapeutic communication online) and now the LPT-2 offshoot group of 15 that started from the Net-Psy list and has formed a very strong small community in only 2 1/2 months.

I'd be interested in participating in a chat on mailing lists but don't know if you, Richard, and others feel it is relevant enough to the subject of Internet marketing (my own focus has been on deepening communication and online relationships, and learning how to use the asynchronous medium more effectively.)

Also, I'm now on ICQ....

Tracy Marks, M.A. 

Previous transcripts and schedule of upcoming chats --

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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.

Web 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 online business
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