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    • We agree and think the Q&A feature for panels is the most important thing we're doing. The majority of the team is devoted to it.

      Right now if you're not on the panel you see a lock icon and a grayed-out sentence at the end of the conversation that says "Only conversation panelists may post." Bummer. The plan is to replace that with a way to let anyone ask a question of the panel.

      This would make panels a cousin to Reddit's popular AMAs (Ask Me Anything). The thing about AMAs that are so exciting is they provide a chance for anyone to ask a question of Bill Gates and for the community to upvote the best ones.

      The downside to AMAs is when the community scales, it can get crazy. I interviewed an r/askscience moderator who said she had her Astronomy professor at MIT to do an AMA and she was mortified at some of the questions she got asked.

      Hopefully we bring something to the Internet it has never seen: a way for Taylor Swift to answer questions from her fans without any of us having to get overwhelmed by zillions of awful questions because the questions go to the panel and then are made public as the panel answers them.

      In one way, it's less exciting, but in another it's more sane — especially as we scale.

      The other day Kara Swisher tried to Interview Jack Dorsey on Twitter at his request and she wrote an article afterwards with this title: "How hard is it to have a conversation on Twitter? So hard not even the CEO can do it."

      Hopefully we solve this problem for her. It's one of my life's dreams to see this succeed, as it has in real-life panels.

      While I was typing this I got an email from Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of TED, to ask how it's coming. I can't tell you how thrilling it would be to create something he would use. I adore him. He ended his 60 Minutes interview with this: "The greatest thing in life is a conversation between people."

    • Okay, final wrap up!  Let’s dive in with the

      Highlights

      Every panelist here creates conversations that are outstanding enough to be recognized on the FEATURED timeline.  When you see their quirky avatar on the left hand side of a timeline, consider it a seal of quality and click on their conversation even if it’s not your usual fare.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ll enjoy them—the quality is THAT high.

      Ultimately, if you’ve read this far, you’re someone who aspires to be that consistently excellent.  To be that someone who people are willing to take a chance on with your latest conversation—because you’ve never let them down with your prior ones.

      The tips shared today in this workshop will get you several steps closer to that goal, so pay close attention to the key points summarized here AND re-read the original posts for further guidance.

      Titles

      If you removed all the topics, would I still be able to tell what your conversation is about from just the title?

      A title posed as a question will often work, so definitely consider that as a possibility.  But clarity of purpose for your conversation should be the key consideration.

      Topics

      Before you decide on the topics to add, type in the topic name or a keyword into the Cake search bar.  If there’s only a handful of followers for a topic that you think is appropriate, add it AND find one or two more related topics that are more widely followed.  AND FOLLOW THOSE TOPICS!!!

      Conversation Ideas

      I would suggest reading @JazliAziz ‘s Anybody can write for a front row seat into the writing mind of a multiple FEATURED conversation contributor.

      All of our panelists seemed to share the sentiment that passion for the conversation is paramount.  If your interest is lukewarm it will come across in your posts.

      passion + subject matter expertise is the Golden Ticket to high engagement.  

      Formatting

      Both @ChrisJenkins and @Chris stress the benefits of more deliberate formatting: shorter blocks of text make scrolling easier for smartphone readers.  But don’t be afraid to write 7 or 8 sentence paragraphs if proper flow demands it: just make sure to give your readers an occasional break with shorter paragraphs.

      Or even a one sentence paragraph.

      Pictures

      @JazliAziz argues that a photo or lead image is incredibly important to stand out from the crowd.  I argue that a clearly written title is all you need to obtain meaningful engagement. ⬇️

      Title of this workshop challenged

      @Felicity challenged the very premise of the workshop: How to get more Responses to your Conversations on Cake.  We shouldn’t be keeping score on the number of responses.

      @Denise made the great point that as visual artists, writers and creators, we want to know that our work had a positive impact on readers.  And if someone chooses to give up their time to join in conversation with us, that’s meaningful validation.

      Photo Walk conversations

      Both @Glenn_Smith and @Denise shared a ton of tips for creating engaging photo conversations that get other users to share their own related work.  @Denise suggested an initial collection of 5 to 10 images so as to not overload your readers.

      And so much more

      I try to write these highlights from memory, which is imperfect, and there are additional valuable bits of wisdom from @lidja , @Ravi , @Vilen , @edgeoftheplayground and others that I’ve overlooked.

      Thank you

      Pulling off a panel like this is a huge undertaking that spanned across time zones and countries, including Malaysia, Australia and the United States.  Our panelists put so much time and effort into creating something amazing.

      Thank you all for this.