Panels

I just got back from YearlyKos, where I was an “expert” on a panel on local blogging.

It was the middle panel of a series of three on the issue (local blogging is THE hot topic right now). I thought our panel went pretty well. We got into interesting issues, we had an active audience, and there was good back and forth between the panelists.

However, at the end of the day, we were still people up on a stage talking into microphones to an audience.

DavidNYC, the moderator of my panel, was frustrated with that: it seemed awkward and counterproductive. He suggested to the next moderator that she take all the chairs off the stage and put them down with the audience. She did.

The result? The crowd was forced to move in, and the panelists to project their voices, but in return the whole mood changed. The tone became more conversational. The experts tended to make shorter answers and let the audience follow up with questions. Questioners tended to drone on less, pontificate less. The conversation flowed more naturally, with less pronounced turntaking and more interaction.

Blogging is a new thing, but the proponents of blogging aren’t a new kind of person. There’s always been people with enough guts and imagination to take the chairs off the stage and see what happens when everybody is amplified equally.

Here’s to them.

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