Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, April 9, 1998. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Time every Thursday. Please note that the US is now on Daylight Savings Time. So in international terms, we are on at GMT -4 instead of GMT -5.
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.
NICOLAE GROSAN -- Hi Richard from Romania !
Ken Merwin -- Greetings Nicolae; it's nice to see global participation! I'm working on a large project involving Africa schools and collaborations with other schools in other countries.
NICOLAE GROSAN -- Hi Ken.My Internet provider is very slow at this time (7pm)
Ken Merwin -- Nicolae - mine is very slow, too. Access issues are a major topic in many countries; our ISP is very poor and I have just 1 choice in rural Wisconsin!
Yazid -- Hi everybody, I
am Yazid from Algeria, and it the first
time I join this chat.
Ken Merwin -- Ken Merwin, Wisconsin. Member, Global Learn Day II event to be held Columbus Day weekend, 1998 Graduate student - global education
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hi everyone - Bob Zwick from Texas USA
Yazid -- Hi Bob, in what field do you work?
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Yazid - I am an independent consultant-developer-Internet presence provider.
Yazid -- Bob - Independent ? Does it mean that you work for companies all over the world (using the Net as a communication mean) ?
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Among "other" meanings, that is one Yazid.
Deb Schaffer -- Hi everyone - Deb Schaffer from Denver, CO
Ken Merwin -- Greetings, Deb; I see you are with J.D. Edwards...
Deb Schaffer -- Yes, Ken. I'm an Instructional Technology specialist. I'm interested in building some forms of web-based training for JDE. I also have an interest in e-commerce.
Ken Merwin -- Deb - you'll find this chat useful; also check out the prior week transripts on Richard's website; very useful. I'm a student of DE; a 2nd career and hoping to do work in Africa so I follow many forums on global knowledge.
Deb Schaffer -- I have been keeping up with the transcripts. It's been fascinating! The challenge has been scheduling this around all the other meetings in my day! I'm excited to participate :)
Rik Hall -- Hi all. Rik here from the University of New Brunswick in eastern Canada.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, all -- it looks like everyone connected at once. Terrific.
Anne Kreidler -- Hi everyone. My name is Anne. This is my first time participating in this.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Anne, glad you could make it. What are you doing with your own Web site? Any intention to make it a sort of community for potential clients of your?
Phil -- Good Afternoon, Phil Grove from Digital Equipment Corp.
Tim Horgan -- Hi all. Tim Horgan from CIO and WebBusiness magazines. Interested in online communities, among other things.
Jonathan George -- Hi All - I'm Jonathan George from DIGITAL. I'm interested, gee, just like all of you, in on-line communities. This is my first time connecting here.
Tom Dadakis -- Hi,Tom Dadakis here, I'm the web manager for learning technologies at a large financial firm. We are looking to use online communities in our training process but feel that once that skill is learned it can be transfered to dealing with clients.
Debby -- Hello who is here?
Caffeine -- I'm just trying this interface. Working on developing java chat client, looking at other options.
http://www.bfranklin.edu Countdown to GLOBAL LEARN DAY II
http://www.bfranklin.edu/archive Visit the Inaugural LEARN DAY
Deb Schaffer -- Yes..we are investigating ways to build communities within our consulting staff, business partners and training delivery folks. We are investigating NetMeeting and IChat.
Anne Kreidler -- Deb: what are NetMeeting and IChat?
Deb Schaffer -- NetMeeting is a Microsoft tool which allows chat, whiteboard, video and audio at the desktop. Our constituencies are often on the road, but need important, updated information about our products. We don't want to be in "training mode" all the time, but need to communicate.
Tom Dadakis -- Deb, With regards to conferencing tools, we have Lotus Notes for email and have piloted something with their Learning Spaces 1.0 which was disappointing. Web Forum and WebBoard are two others that we may try if we can integrate it into the program. Our organization sometimes moves a glacial speed on these type of innovations.
Deb Schaffer -- Richard: Is Forum similar to a listserv format? We are considering listservs as another way to communicate, though not real-time.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Nicolae, do you face any unique challenges, Web-wise, in Romania? What are the major projects you are working on now?
NICOLAE GROSAN -- Hi Richard.The biggest project is the one I've sent last message-AIBC
NICOLAE GROSAN -- To all: I do need help.I don't know how to "promote"our Project using E-mail on the web
Ken Merwin -- Nicolae - I did not have time to look at your web site but will between now and end of week...Ken
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Careful Nicolae, un-solicited email is a touchy subject in the US.
Richard Seltzer -- Nicolae -- messages are flying by so fast today (which is great and which will all get sorted out when I do the transcript), but somehow I missed your reference to AIBC. What does that stand for?
NICOLAE GROSAN -- Richard, AIBC is from ARAD INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTER
Richard Seltzer -- As to promoting on the Web, check my article on how to publicize a Web site for free over the Internet at http://www.samizdat.com/public.html also check http://www.liszt.com for a searchable index of hundreds of thousands of listserv-type mailing lists.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Nicolae, you might consider web-rings or posting to LISTSERVs rather than email.
Ken Merwin -- Bob - agreed on the un-solicited e-mail but posting to list serv's, etc. may be appropriate although I am not familiar with Nicolae's project...
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Right Ken. Email is a personal thing to me. LISTSERVs are more like press releases.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- Listservs are used in a wide variety of ways. Some are simply a way to distribute press-release kinds of stuff. Others are moderated discussions (I-Sales does that very well), which are very similar in content to moderated Forums or notes files. Others are totally wide open, with no moderation -- those sometimes are still good because most participants stick to the topic, but there's a tendency for the spammers to take advantage of them and traffic degrades over time. I'd like to be able to smoothly link LISTSERV traffic with a Forum (and add some editing/moderating).
Ken Merwin -- Agreed, Bob; the listservs I follow (several of which Richard posts his announcements to) seem to do a good job at eliminating "spam"; I do not use any newsgroups since "spam" and related trash seems to pervade them.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Ken - ditto on usenet newsgroup trash (spam). I do however, use private newsserver newsgroups like Microsoft and Symantec. That the best way to deliver a FAQ that is current and close to real-time.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- In general, I agree about Listservs. But there are instances when they are very helpful. Consider the case where you have a closed community (members only), supported by a members only listserv and a closely connected Forum. Messages posted to the Forum go out automatically over the Listserv and messages sent directly to the listserv get automatically added to the forum. Then people can choose what mode they prefer to operate in (you only get the listserv traffic if you ask for it.)
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - private LISTSERVs sound great for community information. Corporate or otherwise, sounds like a great way to deliver pertinent information. I suppose it the foreunner of "Push Technology, like Pointcast.
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- yes, you can think of that kind of listserv as "push", on the other hand keep in mind that not just the company running it posts -- all the members have the right to post, so it does have a community feel to it. But doing it that way, you are giving people a choice of what style (pull or push) best suits their needs. Keep in mind that this also would work well for a community of customers or partners. You just need to keep some kind of control on the membership (make it a benefit/value to belong) in order to keep the quality at a relatively high level. (Come to think of it, you could have one piece closed and another piece open. In other words let anyone receive the email or view the Forum messages, but require some kind of membership to post. (At the extreme end that ends up just another form of moderator-ship, because people could send their messages to those who have the authority to post). The general notion is that these are general purpose software tools that can be implemented with enormous variety to meet your particular business needs.
NICOLAE GROSAN -- Richard, you were speaking about' LISTSERV" how can I find it ?
Ken Merwin -- Nicolae: Listservs are a very basic means of relaying e-mail to a "subscribed" group; I'm not familiar with the server software to run a list serv but it is an Internet feature that is very useful and doesn't require some high-end specialized software...the ones I follow are mainly educational/global development but there are ones covering every possible subject and interest!
Tim Horgan -- The folks we use for our listserv software are L-Soft. Their sales people can be reached at SALES@LSOFT.COM, or by phone at +1 (301) 731-0440 (or 1-800-399-5449 from the US or Canada). (This info may be old, and I am in no way connected to Lsoft...just a customer).
Deb Schaffer -- Tim: thanks for the reference to Lsoft; I'll give them a call and get the particulars.
Richard Seltzer -- Tim -- do you run your listserv standalone? or is it tied into some kind of Forum?
Ken Merwin -- Richard, etc.: I think listservs do well in the low-bandwidth, older systems types of situations such as we see in many "developing" countries; text-based e-mail provides a lot of potential for sharing, etc. I suspect there are many "old" listservs "out there" that have become communities by the "tests" several described earlier. One DOES NOT need stuff that only can run on high end PC's via high speed links to create community; there is way too much of a fetish on that stuff...it's interesting to see the company names pushing that nonsense.
Rik Hall -- list serv's do well in the low-bandwidth, older systems types of situations such as we see in many "developing" countries; " Well . . . they also work really well for distance education students who are working out of their homes with "normal" home computers and 2400 or 33.3 modems
Deb Schaffer -- I agree with Ken that the "cool toys" are fine, but for the most part, not needed. Here at JDE, though we keep trying to find everyday uses for some cutting edge technology, most of our constituency is still getting good at Email. In fact, they're getting so used to email, they're starting to ignore it, or auto-file messages. They want us to "push" important information to them, then it seems they file it and never go back!
Ken Merwin -- Rik & Deb: good points; I like the cool toys too; I noticed some reference to CU-SeeMe; I have it and have lurked on a number of Cu-SeeMe educational sessions; a waste of time! I have yet to find a good model of Cu-SeeMe used successfully in the low to mid-bandwidth environment, contrary to White Pines claims...
Tom Dadakis -- I am sorry to bring this up again but we do have to distinguish between asychnronous (listservs, bulletin boards) and real time (like this current discussion). Again one of the powerful aspects of Richard's setup is the archiving of discussions so that if you are unable to participate, you can at least catch up by reading the archive. Obviously a listserv does keep everyone informed about the discussion but it does not organize or direct the discussion any particular way.
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- As it is, I edit the transcripts and then post them as plain HTML pages, adding follow-up messages by hand. In the best of all possible worlds, I would have a Forum space where I could post those transcripts, and follow up messages could be handled there as responses. And ideally there would be a related listserv so those who preferred to see the traffic as email could do so (always being able to go to the site itself to see everything in context). It's difficult to get the right balance of free discussion and edited/moderated text. But I do believe that Forum software combined with Listserv could make this more effective.
Tom Dadakis -- Richard, Interesting thought of Forum software with listserv capability. Maybe another new product for Digital, eh!
Tim Horgan -- We use listserv for several reasons, including a discussion vehicle for members of the xNet group that I mentioned last week (more at http://www.cio.com/xnet/). For the most part it's not proved very useful with these folks - sort of like having a verrryyy elongated discussion over a long period of time. We're looking into more focused mechanisms, including video-supported discussions (talking to Videoserver about their offerings). This would be like chat, but with videoconferencing and document editing capabilities thrown in.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Tim - I am also working on delivering an integrated video, chat, messageboard service. Currently in the educational environment.
Richard Seltzer -- Phil -- actually the chat application built into AltaVista Forum has a capability like you describe (though it is limited by the fact that it is IRC based, and hence doesn't readily go through firewalls).
Phil -- Richard, I am going to have to try the latest AltaVista Forum 98 software. I would like to see how the did it...
Tom Dadakis -- Phil, Threaded discussions are much easier to follow. Does anyone know if there is anything for threaded discussion in realtime like this one?
Richard Seltzer -- Tom -- the notion of real-time threaded discussion was part of a wish list I gave to the AltaVista Forum development folks a couple years ago. Nothing has come of it so far. But someone else must be working on it.
Dave Griffin -- Richard... Stop by the AV Forum engineering group sometime and we'll show you something ... (we do listen!)
Richard Seltzer -- Dave Griffin -- Terrific. I'd love to see it. I'll be in LJO tomorrow (with George Pappas at 10.) Could I stop by after that? By the way, is what you are talking about part of the present product or development in the works?
-- Dave Griffin, AltaVista Forum Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.ultranet.com/~dgriffin/dave.html Richard: We'll be here (George is 2 offices down from me). As to the timeframe -- well, that's kind of an interesting question... (a little bit of both).
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Interesting idea Phil. Can you give an example of "applications" ?
Phil -- The applications depend on the community....if you think of TRAVELOCITY, there you can find out about destinations, I don't recall if there is a forum/chat, but there you can book flights also. I believe that in the future, you will not be able to conduct commerce if you don't have elements of community (especially in information rich products) without looking like a money-hungry vendor.
Phil -- Other applications may be a proposal generator for a district manager set, or a "community designer" for people like us here.
Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Phil, one of the unusual issues I find myself faced with inside Digital right now is trying to clearly define the difference between "collaboration" and "community". Most of the people I talk to are into the "knowledge management" buzz word. They see "collaboration" in that context as another personal productivity tool, and they tend to throw in the word "community" as if it were synonymous with "collaboration." I see them as two distinctly different business models, which may use some of the same tools, but use them very differently.
Phil -- Richard, I think that you need to refine your definition of community into two sub-groups. One is community of common interest (like gardening) and the other is a community of common practice, like running NT or being a district sales manager. The second has much more collaborative elements, but it is still different from collaboration - I agree.
Tim Horgan -- Richard, from my days at Digital, I would say that some of the conferences were communities of sorts (e.g. Soapbox, some of the technical ones). In fact when we first started using the Web internally the Internet conferences provided a powerful way to hear from the experts, ask questions, etc. We learned a lot, had people who spent time answering questions, posted news, etc. Do you agree?
Phil -- Which types of functionality do people think are most potent when starting up communities? Do the most potent elements change over time? ie as the commmunity matures?
Tom Dadakis -- IMHO, the key to a dynamic online community is a skilled, dedicated moderator. Not to hype Richard (although I point to him as the model many times) this community would not exist and sustain itself without Richard. While I have read his piece on a moderator's role, it is HARD work. It is a skill which is developed and that not many people have yet. The tools are secondary. A chat room (like AOL) can deteriorate very quickly. To get people to come back at the same time regularly means the information they receive is worth their time invested.
Ken Merwin -- Tom - good point; to be honest what's holding me back is the fear of not being able to sustain a group while in the "learning" mode; with such busy people I'm afraid they'd "walk" away from an inexperienced moderator...I don't think many of us could emulate a Richard in just a session or two and I'm not about begging folk to hang with me!
Phil -- I agree -- returning depends on VALUE....the more ways you can create it, the more people will return
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard, I shy away from most listservs mainly because of volume of traffic. I only participate in Moderated ones. If they were more organized, like the transcripts you provide, it would be a much more useful tool.
Deb Schaffer -- Tom: I agree with your comments about moderators. If we decide to test an internal listserv, we would certainly have internal folks "own" the discussions. Everyone's time is too valuable to waste on irrelevent discussions. Particularly when you're on the payroll!
Rik Hall -- I agree with Tom. I "host" a WWW courseware developers listserv - 1400 people from 25 countries. And yes - it is hard work. We are pretty much Spam free - by the way the list is set up. Also - most people tend to keep on topic.
Phil -- Rick, what is the pointer to your listserv?
Rik HallFor information look at our old and not kept up web site at http://www.unb.ca/wwwdev
Rik Hall -- I actually do try to keep it up-to-date, but there is just me - and I do this on my coffee breaks (Canadian drink more coffee per capita than any other country in the world)
Ken Merwin -- Richard - I was unable to connect with Sudha this week; "family issues"; I am still interested in the DE and Sudha and I should discuss this; perhaps a co-leader arrangement?
Richard Seltzer -- Ken -- "Co-leader" might work, but only if one of the "co-leaders" felt totally responsible :-)
Ken Merwin -- I understand that Richard; I should have some time to connect with Sudha, etc. this coming week.
Sudha Jamthe -- Hi Richard: Sorry I am late, but glad to make it. Hi Ken: Hope we can connect sometime this week and catchup on the DE chat plans.
Richard Seltzer -- Sudha -- do you want to set up a time, now, for a limited organizational chat to get the distance ed thing going?
Ken Merwin -- Hi Sudha; I'll have more time this coming week; had some sticky family matters this week so just kept my head above water on e-mails...Ken
Sudha Jamthe -- Richard: I have another Chat room setup for DE on this same site. People who are interested in participating can come and post their thoughs there. We can find a common time to meet there and brainstorm so we can plan ahead. Just click on Richard Seltzer Chat on web-net as always. You'll find an extra option of chat room saying "Distance Education" to choose from. I can meet there anytime on tuesdays or before 4.00pm EST (GMT -5) other days. Can you find what time works for others? Those who can't make it but want to contribute can leave their comments in the chat room for us to pick up when we visit next. What do you think?
Ken Merwin -- Sudha - thanks for that information re: the chat location; I'll post in some times for me for early next week.
Richard Seltzer -- Those interested in pursuing the discussion about distance ed chat, please send email to me email@example.com and Sudha firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your time preferences for an organizational on-line get together.
Carole Soule -- Richard, I would like to be involved some how in a spin off of the distance ed chat, but not sure I can commit to full responsibility right now.
Richard Seltzer -- Carole -- please follow up with email on what time would be good for you to talk about organization issues re: distance ed chat.
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - after much thought and seeing how difficult it is for anyone to commit the time required, I've decided I'd like to take the reins on the Distance Ed spinoff.
Ken Merwin -- Bob - you have my utmost respect for stepping forward; I recall you took a turn or 2 in Richard's absence so have the leg-up...will look forward to continuing the DE portion of chat under your guidance...
Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- that's good to hear. Please send me email about what time is best for you to connect to get an organizational meeting going.
Richard Seltzer -- Everyone interested in talking about organizational issues related to the spin-off distance ed chat be sure to send me email email@example.com And also, please send your followup messages/comments/questions to me for possible inclusion with the transcript.
Ken Merwin -- Richard - I'd like to also continue to follow the communities forum; I see many efforts to create such an environment in the "global" forums of DE, etc.; I sense a real breakthru with another session based on what I saw so far today; hopefully all will be back. firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Seltzer -- Ken -- please join us too for the distance ed organizational chat. You could play an important role in this. Thanks very much for your interest.
Phil -- One of the areas of concern I have for Amazon, is that they almost create a community for each book. With 2.5M of them, the community gets dispersed too rapidly and does not maintain critical mass and does not make it easy for one to know where to apply their attention.
Deb Schaffer -- Richard/Phil: Amazon.com does a fabulous job building communities. The next question is: Are they profitable? Are the communities building them a constant revenue stream?
Richard Seltzer -- Deb -- I don't have access to the profit/loss statements of Amazon.com, but my impression is that they are enormously successful. I believe that they are continuing to reinvest all the money that otherwise would be counted as profits. And they keep investing in new features that build their relationships with customers (as well as with publishers, authors, etc.). They own the relationship with the book-buying customer far more totally than any previous means of selling books. I spend $100-200 there every month, and they know everything about my buying habits, my interests, the books I'm anxiously awaiting, etc.; both me as an individual and large sets of consumers as buying patterns. They know more about the publishing business than companies that have been publishing for hundreds of years. That relationship is the asset/value that should stand them in good stead for a long time to come.
Deb Schaffer -- Richard: I love Amazon.com too! Especially when they sent me a thank-you gift at Christmas (unsolicited)! I had heard (rumor, gossip and hearsay) they have yet to make a profit, despite their apparent success. Maybe I'll do some digging?!
Tim Horgan -- Re: Amazon. I believe it's true that they have yet to make a profit, but that's actually the business plan for many Internet start-ups. The short-term goals are to get an infrastructure in place, offer some unique and interesting services, attract as many customers as possible and start "collecting" customers - by having all this information about what they like, so it becomes bothersome to go elsewhere. Loyalty, brand building, building a customer base are the keywords for today. If they succeed they have a very good chance of being quite profitable longer-term.
Yazid -- Amazon - I wonder if Amazon have international books (from other authors than American ones) ?.
Rik Hall -- "I wonder if Amazon have international books" Yes - they carry "Canadian" ones - and we are not part of the US of A.
Yazid -- Amazon - Yes, but from other countries as Europe or North-Africa ?.
Ken Merwin -- My wife has been on Amazon's website; she thinks they would have a good collection of international books...way beyond just "Canadian" Rik!
Richard Seltzer -- Phil -- the multiple windows mode is very interesting. I do that sometimes when I'm in this chat, clicking to look at someone's home page while the discussion continues. And instant message (ICQ from Mirabilis and the AOL Buddy) seem well adapated to that multiplexing style.
Richard Seltzer -- Rik -- I have a camera and mic on my PC and have several different apps (like CUSeeMe and Vocaltech) which I haven't really had a chance to use because none of the folks I communicate with regularly have them. I'd be glad to try it out with you. (Maybe include your famous novelist wife in the conversation too.) Just send me email. email@example.com
Phil -- Richard, I too would be interested in trying out the CuSeeMe capabilities. I would need to set them up...
Richard Seltzer -- Phil -- as with other streaming audio/video apps, firewalls get in the way. And my desktop system at the office isn't properly equipped (only my person system at home). So we'd have to do it through ISP accounts.
Rik Hall -- Oh well - anyone that wants to try something interactive other than this chat (CUSeeMe or whatever) email me - but I know almost NOTHING about it.
Richard Seltzer -- All, please, before you log off, post your email address and URL (don't count on the software to have captured it.)
Deb Schaffer -- It's been an interesting hour! I look forward to hearing about the DE chat. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Dadakis -- Good job. Catch you all when I can.
Rik Hall -- Rik Hall, HALL@UNB.CA,
NICOLAE GROSAN -- All, nice to meet you =) email@example.com http://www.inext.ro/cci/
Tim Horgan -- Tim Horgan, VP/Technolgy
and Web, CIO Magazine/IDG
Yazid -- For a first time,
it was very instructive. I didn't really participate, but next week I'll
be here !. Good bye from Algeria, Allal Yazid firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil -- Phil Grove, Dir.
Internet Marketing Innovations, Digital Equipment Corporation
Jonathan George -- Thanks. I hope next time to participate. Jonathan.George@digital.com
Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- See you all next week. Bob Zwick email@example.com Cottage Micro Services,103 Vinyard Drive, Waxahachie, TX 75167, PH/FX: (972) 435-2446 http://www.cottagemicro.com
Richard Seltzer -- All -- please join us again next week.
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
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