Almost interactive podcasts on Waxxi

I tried to join in on Waxxi’s interactive podcast of a discussion with Robert Scoble and Shel Israel today.

I signed up to join in the podcast very early on (long before Mike Arrington blogged about Waxxi). I received my email with instructions on the number to dial and I dialled the number at the appointed time.

I had my question ready and, as per instructed on the phone, I pressed the correct combination of keys to let the moderator know I had a question.

I waited to be called in with my question. And I waited. And I waited. Remember I was dialling international from Ireland.

I waited one hour and fifty minutes to see if I would be called in to ask my question (what can I say, I’m a bit slow on the uptake).

I heard other questions being asked from people who emailed in their questions or IM’d them in. I didn’t know who I could IM my question to (there was no mention of IM in the email instructions), so hearing that others were getting in ahead of me didn’t do much for my mood.

The podcast ended and I didn’t get to ask my question.

I realise that many people had signed up for this podcast but if this format is to be interactive, more interaction needs to happen between the guests on the show (Robert and Shel) and the people who have rung in. Reading out questions emailed or IM’d in is no more interactive than the podcasts I do at

16 thoughts on “Almost interactive podcasts on Waxxi”

  1. Tom,

    I’m mortified to hear this. Robert and I never knew you were there. If we had, we would have insisted that you go to the top of the line because you were on international.

  2. Dang, Tom. Your input would have been much appreciated. It seemed to me that the only time they went to the IM’s or chat questions was when the conversation was stalling out–not enough of us “raising our hands” on the phone. I personally expected a lot larger turn out for this event among the blogging community if no one else. Still, it was pretty awesome.

  3. It sounds like the call monitoring control panel has no flags for countries of origin. I wonder if it’s defaulted to US area codes on its display.

  4. Shel and Frank – thanks, I realise that this was unintentional – it does however, show up a shortcoming of the process in place for these podcasts.

    Phone questions should be prioritised over email and IM questions – either they weren’t prioritised or Waxxi was unaware that people were waiting on the phone with questions.

    Either way that needs to be addressed for future podcasts or they won’t be seen as interactive.

  5. ptvGuy – do we know how many people actually rang in? 1,000 registered to do so – if, say, 500 actually did, I hardly think there were too few of us raising our hands – it is more likely that either Waxxi were unaware we were looking to ask questions or they didn’t prioritise phone questions.

    Bernie – good question – it’d be good to know the answer to that.

  6. Tom, I hear ya. I had a bit of a similar time doing a Skypecast the other day. It had nowhere near the options that Waxxi apparently has, and I was running to and fro the whole time to keep it working – muting and unmuting people, notifyinging them about what was happening via a Skype chat that I had to start myself, and otherwise feeling harried about the spotty sound quality.

    I agree – there needs to be the ability to give guests the chance to talk to each other off to the side, to engage with each other and with the host(s) more easily. Interactivity is the name of the game.

  7. The actual participation seemed pretty limited to me (maybe 10 or 20), but I managed to catch Tracy Sheridan back in the chat room at Waxxi after the event and ask her about the Global participation aspect. Here’s her answer:

    20 May, 13:09:01 PDT> tracy: we had callers from several countries, however there may have been a challenge with 1) time and 2) language

    20 May, 13:09:14 PDT> tracy: Off the cuff at least: Ireland, UK, China, US

    I’m guessing that they knew people were there but were somehow not getting “hand raising” code.

  8. ptvguy – pity I wasn’t made aware of the chat room.

    Jeremiah – I wanted to say:

    Robert, I was very sorry to read your posts about your mothers health problems – my own mother has had similar health problems so I can sympathise – I’m thinking of you.

    I published a podcast interview with Loic Le Meur from Six Apart on during the week and he said that although blogging is blooming in France, business blogging is still in the doldrums. He went on to say that business blogging hasn’t really taken off in the US either.

    What do you think will be the tipping point which will push blogging into the mainstream for businesses?

  9. Tom:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve posted the full chat discussion. ( Most of it doesn’t make sense by itself as it was happening simultaneous to the podcast discussion and includes comments on what was actually being spoken of at the time.

    BTW, I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Tell her there are some good thoughts being directed to the both of you from deep in the middle of the Trinity Alps in Northern California.

    –>Tim Dungan (aka ptvGuy)

  10. Tom,

    We are *incredibly sorry* that this occurred! I will repeat here what I said to you in an email to you earlier:

    “During the recording, I was able to see what others, including Shel and Robert, were not. Meaning, I was able to see everyone on the call, not just in the chat room. I did see you, but saw that you were not raising your hand. This surprised, me, but I could not assume at the time that you couldn’t, just that you chose not to. Also, we had no indication that the international line was not working properly since at least one call came in successfully from outside the US.

    Many people did choose to ask their questions via live chat — actually many more than via voice. It wasn’t that they were prioritized, it just allowed the flow of conversation to happen more seamlessly since Robert and Shel could see the questions, real-time. If everyone was un-muted on the call, it would of course been a bit chaotic.

    In the end, it was a first time effort. It wasn’t perfect, but we learned. And again I do apologize. What I do promise is that the technology will be improved upon for the future, and we hope that you give Waxxi a second chance.”

    With sincere apologies to you, Tom: if we could turn back the clock we certainly would. But, we were glad to see such positive response from those who did participate, even by chat or IM only.

    Just like most things new, Waxxi will improve with time – and, we will certainly have this issue taken care of immediately. Lastly, we would like to 1) offer to take care of your phone expenses during the event today and 2) thank you for taking the time in joining us. I, for one (and one of many), was looking forward to your contribution.

    My best wishes,

  11. Tom: I’m very sorry we weren’t able to hear your call. I would have loved to have talked with you again.

    Regarding how more businesspeople will get into blogging, that’s a tough one. I met a bunch of businesses in Montana that still don’t have Web sites, which just blows me away. So, getting a majority of them to see the advantages of having a conversational, non-static, Web site (er, blog) will be a tough thing.

    Anyone who understands where business will come from in the future (aka search engines) will get their value immediately. If you don’t believe there’s value in search engine traffic, then it’ll be harder to convince them.

  12. Thanks Tim (aka ptvGuy).

    Tracy – thanks for the response. A couple of things:

    Not enough people knew about the IM channel – people need to be made aware of this in the instruction email.

    I wasn’t the only one who had problems trying to ask a question – at least one other blogger has posted about having the same problem so there appears to have been a problem with the tech involved in asking questions as opposed to the international line.

    The issue here was, as a caller, I had no visibility of whether you knew I wanted to ask a question and were just proiritising other people ahead of me, or if you were unaware that I wanted to ask a question.

    One way to resolve this would be to give people feedback (let them know they have been noticed) when they indicate they want to ask a question. In a physical panel discussion (as opposed to a virtual one) if I raise my hand, I wait until the chair signals me that (s)he has seen me – you need something similar for Waxxi.

    Robert – not currently having a website might ironically be a good thing, ‘cos then these businesses can leapfrog the static website stage and head straight into a blog!

    I certainly understand the value of blogs wrt search engines – I am constantly telling people that there is no better seo tool for your site than a properly setup blog.

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