The Future of Online Chat: LIVE at the #smchat 7-yr Gala WEDS 5/25 1pET

Posted on May 24, 2016 by


So #smchat is 7. The commercial web is 20. Just call us “old timers”

Happy Anniversary, my friends. Much has changed since May 2009 when the first #smchat tweet posted. Some will remember we were a spin off of the #innochat group. For fun, here’s our very first 2009 #smchat Q1 (courtesy Twitter):

(I have downloaded the rest of my tweets, too. All 34k of them. Fascinating to look back. I remember so many of them. But I digress.)

For the first couple years we talked about the possibility of this strange concoction of people and content and messages called social media. We asked what might happen if people and businesses learned to engage online, and have had countless exchanges to learn more. The years went by, the faces changed a bit, but the learning kept coming. We shifted formats and dates and moderators, but the conversations continued.

Fast forward to 2016. We’re still comparing notes, but the questions have become a bit more focused. Social media is now generally established as a specific way to use the internet, though the tools and processes are changing, and we’re still working through the adoption cycle. Are we there yet? Interesting question. The short answer: probably not. We know social media is a great way to post content and get feedback. People and brands alike have learned how to benefit, and many have grown their networks and their online presence.

But what about online conversation? It’s how this community came to be. Is there traction and/or evolution around the capability to converse in groups, linking friends and strangers alike in a dialog?

Let’s attack the future of online chat with the following general questions:

  • Q1. IRC and AOL were foundations, then Twitter, Google Hangouts and Blab. Besides the UI, what’s changed?
  • Q2. Will the public warm to the idea of collaborating/ learning with strangers? Or will this remain a niche?
  • Q3. Are Twitter Chats expanding, contracting, or .. simply evolving? How?
  • Q4. What makes an online community survive and grow?
  • Q5. What is the future of online chat?

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone over the past 80 or so months that we’ve been talking. Sure, we skipped a few holidays, but we missed very, very few chats beyond that.

Several hundred people have contributed, but perhaps none as much as our current moderating crew: Autom, Sharon and Amber. My heartfelt thanks for making #smchat the “go to” community for social media insight that it is. Honors to former mods Joe & Rabia, regulars John, Alasdair, Cathryn and Paul, and to the many long-term friends and co-conspirators (too many to try and name), many of whom still stop in when they can.

Co-founders deserve a major shout too, of course. At the risk of missing somebody, top props to: Andrea, Kelli, Heidi, Remy, Boris, Renee, Gwen, Julian, Uyen and Kendall. We wouldn’t even be here without your pioneering tweets. And you KNOW you are getting an invite tweet tonight.

I hope you will stop in WEDS 5/25 at 1pm ET.

As you know by now, it’s always lively.  Let’s turn it up a notch as we turn 7, looking behind and ahead in one fell (60-minute) swoop.

See you online.

Chris (aka @sourcepov)

Posted in: Social media, Trends