Ideas For Simple Public Media Collaboration: Online Chats

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Today I woke up and in my inbox was an e-mail from a producer at POV documentaries. This e-mail had a small snippet of code that let me, practically effortlessly, embed a chat module (by the excellent folks at Cover It Live) on my organization’s website.

I sent out a few tweets, posted a few updates to Facebook pages and a couple hours later, was watching and participating in a chat with Robert Kenner, the filmmaker of Food, Inc. I wasn’t participating in the chat on the POV website, but on the website of Earth Eats, a program I manage for WFIU Public Radio.

They got more readers (chatters?) for their chat, we probably got a couple hundred pageviews, everyone got a chance to talk to Robert Kenner for an hour about making a much-talked-about Academy Award nominated documentary. People who missed the chat can even replay it on our site, or on their site. Win-win-win.

Not a huge deal really, but it got me thinking (a bit more than usual) – imagine if public media organizations could get organized enough to do this everyday, or multiple times a day, on different topics, with different experts, in different communities.

With the ease of embedding these chats (and, arguably, of organizing and moderating them), couldn’t we just setup a central location where organizations could post “I have a chat with Joe Smith, a noted expert in whatever topic, setup for 1-2 p.m. ET on April 27” and then include the embed code?

Then, organizations could pick and choose which chats they wanted to be a part of. Or, even better, organizations could post ideas for future events and see if anyone else in the community had the ability to pull the necessary strings to get the expert(s) wrangled and confirmed for those proposed chats.

We ALL get more readers for our chats, more pageviews for our websites and the public gets to talk to more experts on a variety of topics from a variety of locations, not just what their local station is able to wrangle on their own.

Easy. Right?