A few weeks back I was a keynote speaker at the European Conference on Social Media (ECSM 2014) conference.
I have been designing and hosting conversations in the form of knowledge cafes for the past 12 years or more.
and during this time I have developed some simple principles that help ensure the engagement of the participants and the quality of the conversations.
My focus has always been on face-to-face conversations and not ones mediated through social media
but during this time many people have asked me how to run virtual knowledge cafes or how to improve the way that people hold conversations online.
Online conversations are fraught with difficulties.
Often they are an exchange of monologues - a series of highly crafted statements by the participants.
They are not like normal face-to-face conversations and I would argue that they are not in fact conversations in the strictest sense of the word.
Misunderstandings abound; certain people dominate; trolls deliberately stir up trouble, intellectual arguments and fights break out and conversations rapidly become ad hominem.
Quieter, more reflective people, people who favour dialogue over debate stay away or lurk silently in the background.
In my talk I reviewed what I've learnt about face-to-face conversation in developing my knowledge cafes and how the principles that underpin them might help improve socially mediated conversations.
The talk was videod and if and when I get a copy I hippo to share it with you but in the meantime here are the slides from my presentation.