Today I was lucky enough to moderate a panel called Blogs, Comments, Forums and Rich Social Data Gestures for Big Boulder Conference, an event of epic quality organized by Gnip. I was joined by Mark O’Sullivan from Vanilla Forums, Mike Preuss from Formspring, Ro Gupta of Disqus, and Martin Remy from Automattic.
One of the great things about being a moderator is that you learn a ton about the topic on which you’re moderating. I learned a lot about community and the value in giving people various ways to express themselves. Some people like the long blog format – while others just prefer to comment on blogs. Forums work for many, where there isn’t one dominant voice, rather a chorus of voices that make up a collective interest area. Some (like me) focus on the 140 character updates via Twitter. And some people go for the extremely lightweight interactions such as likes and smiley faces to engage in their comunity. But regardless of your personal communication style, the platforms that exist today have allowed people with similar interests across massive geographic expanses come together. Mark was telling me about a Koren pop artist forum that likes to create user-generated stories about those pop artists, but that many of the users were in the US. Martin mentioned that the Turks are some of the most vocal in social media. I learned that a share on Facebook goes about twice as far as a share on Twitter, and that people who login with their Facebook accounts are MUCH less likely to be spammers. And finally that building a business exclusively on Twitter or Facebook can be extremely dangerous – one new feature rollout could literally kill your company. And that the social data generated by all these services is massively valuable and monatized by companies like Gnip.
At the end of the day, I realized how lucky I am to be a part of a great community both online here and offline in Boulder. And it was great to meet my fellow panelists and be a part of Big Boulder Conference.