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The Human Touch

I don't have the internet or cognitive bandwidth to do this, but maybe you do.

Curators Wanted: SpokenWord.org 2.0

Over the past two months we've been discussing the future of
SpokenWord.org with our advisors, directors and members. We now
have a new plan for SpokenWord.org and we need your help.

The web is awash with audio and video. There are great programs
out there, but they're just too hard to separate from the noise.
We created SpokenWord.org because we wanted to help people
locate the best podcasts, videos and slideshows. We got the
basics right -- topics and collections -- but our homepage in
particular isn't discriminating enough. Literally every five
minutes we display the latest programs in each topic, but
they're not filtered. There's little sense of what's worth
watching or listening to as opposed to just being "new".

What's missing is the human touch. For example, I've recently
become obsessed with photography, and I've been looking
everywhere for the best podcasts and videos to help me learn
more. Along the way I've had to work my way through all sorts of
junk in order to find the good stuff. If only there were a
photography guru who would take the time to find the best
podcasts and individual episodes for me. That would be awesome.

So that's what we're doing in SpokenWord.org 2.0. We're building
a team of expert curators, each with his or her own specialty.
These curators will find the very best audio and video programs
and use SpokenWord.org to present them to you. These curators
and their collections will be the primary feature of our

Is there a topic you're particularly passionate and
knowledgeable about? Would you be willing to share your
expertise by maintaining a curated list of feeds and episodes
for SpokenWord.org? Would you like to become one of our

There's no monetary compensation for your effort, but I think
you'll be rewarded by the appreciation you receive and the
credibility you'll gain within your niche. We're going to work
hard to spread the word about SpokenWord.org and our curators,
and I think being the SpokenWord.org curator for a particular
topic will eventually carry some real weight.

We're still early in the process of implementing the website
features to support this new concept. In fact, the concept
itself is still evolving. If you're interested either in
becoming a curator or just participating in the discussion of
how our curation system will function, please join the brand-new
Google Group dedicated to SpokenWord.org curation.

SpokenWord.org Google Group:

We'll soon have a way for you to formally apply to become a
curator, but for now, joining the discussion is the best way to
get involved.

[Note: The above is copied from my personal blog. I encourage
you to go there to leave your feedback. And please forgive me if
you already received a copy of this newsletter. We're mailing it
to both our SpokenWord.org and Conversations Network lists and
you're probably on both of them.]

Doug's Blog (Blogarithms):


And the Pitch...

In order to keep The Conversations Network alive, we need your
help. Please consider joining as a paid member of The
Conversations Network. Dues and donations are a major part of
our funding.

Become a supporting member:

Make a one-time donation:

For those in the U.S., The Conversations Network is a
California nonprofit public benefit corporation and a section
501(c)(3) public charity under the Internal Revenue Code,
contributions to which are tax-deductible to the extent
permitted by law.


That's all for this month. Thanks again for your feedback and
ongoing support.


Doug Kaye, Executive Director
The Conversations Network



As of today (June 30,2010):
* Members: 4,345
* Feeds: 7,673
* Programs: 696,627
* Collections: 4,423
* Tags: 211,445
* Comments: 110
* Ratings: 10,780
* Badges: 2,809


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