The Internet is the only venue where the expectation is that anyone can join the conversation. It ushered in an amazing era of democratizing speech and empowering ordinary people to create movements that change the world.
The trouble is, it also empowered anyone to wreck the conversation, silencing some of our most important voices with threats and vitriol. Who knew that state-sponsored troll farms would specialize in polarizing us?
In the physical world we have a solution: panel discussions. The expectation of the audience is that it benefits everyone to let panelists speak. Audiences clap and laugh to add life to the conversation, but they rarely shout panelists off the stage.
My favorite panel happened when Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher invited Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on stage. The audience was electric that day and the panel was recorded for the benefit of millions.
The trouble is it required a stage, an auditorium with an audience, a sound system, and for Walt, Kara, Steve and Bill to be at the same place at the same time—a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Today Cake is introducing panel conversations. You can invite panelists who post while your audience reads and adds life to the conversation by reacting with emojis. No trolls. No hijacking.
The panelists can be scattered around the world and conversations can take place over days, weeks, or months.
Imagine a World Cup soccer team forming a panel for their fans to follow their adventures as they progress through the tournament. Or a panel of experts debating the best treatment for antibiotic-resistant infections. Or a group of women gamers talking about their favorite video games without having to worry about sexist comments.
What panels would you like to see? Which will you create?