Google has a little known utility called Google Moderator available on the web. I can’t figure out why no web conferencing vendor has implemented a similar functionality in their product. It would be a great way to encourage more productive audience interactivity.
Google Moderator lets a host create a topic area. Users with Google accounts can log into the page (you can also embed the dialog area as an iFrame on your own web page) and submit a question, see other questions, and vote a thumbs up or thumbs down on any given contribution. The most popular questions rise to the top so a moderator can easily see the ones with the most audience interest and address them.
It would be possible to use this functionality today in conjunction with a webinar. You could set up a Google Moderator page for questions before a web conference to help guide content priorities for the presenters. Some webinar products allow an attendee-usable web page to be displayed alongside other presentation content during the live event. So they could show the web page inside the webinar and let participants interact with it.
The problem with using Google Moderator is that it requires all participants to have a separate Google account and to log in to the application distinct from your web conference. I am not a fan of multiple logins. It also creates separate conversation streams inside and outside of the webinar, which can get confusing. People don’t know where to type.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn on this feature as native functionality inside a webinar, using the existing Q&A or Chat facility? Hey vendors… Get working on this! Let a host enable a voting panel. The most popular questions rise to the top. Once they are answered, you need a way to move them off the queue to make room for the next most popular.
ON24 is achingly close in its new release with a widget that lets people enter ideas, comment on other ideas, and vote them up and down. It’s almost perfect. But it is really made for running a brainstorming activity as an independent activity inside a web session. All they need to do is somehow integrate it with the webinar Q&A stream and we’d be there.
How about it, dear readers? As an attendee, would you like to be able to democratically influence which questions are most important? As a host or presenter, would you like a way to more easily and fairly choose the next question to address?
Add a comment on this blog post (click here if you are reading this in an email or feed reader). Let’s make collaboration more collaborative!