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Advertising brainstorming.com as an alternative social media platform

Advertising brainstorming.com as an alternative social media platform

Image credit: https://dysfunctionalliteracy.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/social-media-platforms.jpg

By Povilas S on Oct 22, 2020

Antonio Carusillo a month ago
I think this would be a great idea.

When it comes to Brainstorming the first thing you imagine is a room and a round table with people discussing, taking notes or doing schemes on a whiteboard and from time to time such creative momentum is “paused” for some random chatting.
So how can we re-create such environment in an online setting?
If we could implement such aspects in our platform, allowing people scattered all over the world to brainstorm as they were in the same room would be killer!
So, let´s try to break-down some of these points:
- Live chat: we should include live chats feature and we may divide them into three types
1 to 1: where a person can contact another one directly. To discuss further details regarding idea or sessions, give feedback or simply establish an interaction
General chat on the main page: this would serve more for the “random chatting” purpose. Just for people to:
“ say hi”
Request help/ suggestions for ideas/ sessions to come or ongoing
Advertise a newly opened session
Suggest sessions the user may like to discuss
Session/ Idea dedicated chat: here people will chat only regarding the specific session/ idea on screen. Contrary to comments/ contributions here people will have immediate feedback ( when people are online ) and may use it as a way to discuss a contribution/ comment before actually writing it. This may also encourage people to open up since what they write won´t be “fixed” but is more a part of a chat
- Whiteboard: I am the kind of person who when it comes to idea likes to have a black notepad and scheme on it and “connect” the dots. Even if nothing can substitute the “ feeling of the paper “ yet there are online tools that allow simulating a whiteboard. To this, for example, there is an online tool called indeed “ Stormboard “(https://zapier.com/blog/best-online-whiteboard/#stormboard) which may serve the purpose of having people writing on a whiteboard, where ideas/ contributions are put side by side and the dots connected. This may be very helpful, also if we think about big sessions where a lot of contributions are added. This is a good thing but on the other, at a certain point, it may be overwhelming to read through so many texts and have to conclude by ourselves ( this can be considered a weak point on our platform, maybe I will stress this also in the current Feedback session ). So we may imagine that when a certain number of contributions are reached ( 5 for example ) we may update a whiteboard with the key points and how they connect each other, to establish a logical order and maybe leave aside redundant contributions or the ones that cannot be applied in the specific session. This function can be managed by the creator of the session who will be in charge to update the whiteboard. So that a person landing on the session instead of reading 20 contributions can have a single snapshot of the key points discussed. This would also solve the problem of “ too complicated “ contributions. If the person gets the idea of what is all about from the whiteboard, he/she will find it more helpful to understand the contributions. This concept is well used in high-impact factor scientific paper-like “Cell” where they request the authors to present a “ graphical abstract “ highlighting the key-concept of the paper. A person by looking at it should get i) the problem ii) the approach iii) the results. If we do the same, it will greatly benefit the session and having images it is always helpful. For graphical abstracts, there are free tools available like Inkscape or Vectornator.
- Live meeting events: once per month it would be cool to have a “spontaneous” live meeting were using platforms like Zoom/ Google Meeting or so we may organize a meeting with short presentations regarding highlights from the platform (updates to come, current user numbers, platform impacts). We may start among the team only since I know more 3 to 4 people but we are 15. This may help in establishing a more solid bounding.
- User Lists: to make it social, we also need to establish a visual connection. Would be nice to have a dedicated bar where current users are showed ( profile picture, age, country, language is spoken). Maybe we do not need numbers, but would be nice to have an idea where people come from, average age, sex-balance
- New user alert: when a new user joins would be nice to have a notification on the main page. The team will now that there are new users ( so we won´t ask who is the person commenting our sessions ) and also other users will know that new people are joining
The some-more “esthetical” add on:
- A world map showing in a snapshot where people come from and below a clock with the different timezones so that a person knows when most of the people will be online for chatting, discussing and interacting.
- A team picture: who is the CEO? Who are the development team? Who are the “research team “. Again, to create bounding with the users would be nice to see the smiling faces of who is behind Brainstorming. When I started my PhD program both PhD Students and PIs had to give a small presentation about themselves and to list at least one fun fact about them. This helped to build personal interactions between students and PIs.
- Adopt an idea: this may be implemented in a very long feature when we will get more attention. Here we will list the ideas we think worth funding and introduce a checklist indicating the people needed ( in terms of skills ) to carry it out, the money needed and the interested investors
- Pay as a coffee: this will be again for the future, like what Wikipedia does where you may ask for a voluntary donation and may in return the person receives a “badge” in the name, a letter from the CEO or grandma sauce from me(😂 )
Some of these suggestions may take time to be implemented or maybe not feasible in the short run. But I do think that they will make the differences between a “blog-like” website ( as already remarked ) and an interactive Brainstorming platform
Povilas S a month ago
Antonio Carusillo I personally see an advantage in having limited live chat activity. The constant stream of the chat is a bit distracting and gives you a messy feeling, resembling the one you get on mainstream (very good word in this context) social media. This is especially true in a creative place. Good ideas usually come when you disconnect from everything and are left truly alone. That's why I like that there's no live chat on the platform so far, but we discuss things in slack instead. That way you can have an "inert" place with a rather slow activity and a separate place to get a response more quickly in case you need it. So I'd limit live chat to maybe availability to message members directly and start a one-on-one conversation.

I think the implementation of whiteboard function would be very useful and probably it would be the best to have a personal whiteboard just to supplement your own ideas and a group whiteboard for developing a certain session/topic, or maybe one for the whole website also, to connect different ideas, etc.