I was reading ChurchCrunch earlier today (initially to take a look at an article John Saddington wrote about TokBox Broadcast Video Chat) and came across this CNN clip from last Friday, talking about Church 2.0. I listened with interest as they discussed the ways in which social media tools including Facebook and Twitter are being used to enable churches to build communities, even with people they have traditionally struggled to reach.
What’s even more intriguing to me are the criticisms aimed at so called Church 2.0, namely “you can’t really worship effectively unless you have that face to face interaction going on with your pastor or priest or worship with other parishioners”. It seems these critics haven’t appreciated all the same tools that those at the leading edge of Church 2.0 have.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about “un-conferences”. I am not sure that is a technical term, but it’s one which I have gravitated towards since we launched Broadcast video chat earlier this week.
I first read about the concept in this TechCrunch post by Michael Arrington. I then started to dig deeper, reading the comments on the post and more about Dave Winer. I love the idea of a gathering, meeting, event, conference (call it what you will) that not only allows, but facilitates interactions around a topic. For me, it’s a case of “you never know where a good idea is going to come from” or “many heads are better than one”. We can all learn from each other.
For some time now many of you have been telling us that you want to have more than 20 people in a call. Now you can. Today we launched a new feature, Broadcast video chat.
Broadcast video chat allows you to have 12 people on-screen (essentially in the video chat) and up to 200 people in the audience. But that’s not all. We know that the audience has something to say, they don’t just want to sit there and listen, they want to contribute. With TokBox Broadcast video chat they can. They can either request to go on-screen or they can submit a video question to the moderator who can then decide whether or not they want to play it for everyone to see. Then of course, there is text chat. Everyone can share their ideas here too. It’s one large, fluid conversation. You can see more about how it works by watching our demo video or by joining a Broadcast video chat with me and some other members of the TokBox team today, Wednesday 31st March at 2pm PST. Simply click here.
A few weeks ago I invited people to join me in a video chat to show them our new moderation & scheduling features and give me their feedback. It was a great chat and the people that participated gave me some interesting ideas to share with the TokBox team. It also seemed, in listening to the Twitter-sphere, that there were more of you that would have liked to take part. So, we’re going to do it again, this time with more advance warning so you can get it on to your busy calendars 🙂
There’s been a lot going on at TokBox in the last month. We’ve moved office, hired last summer’s Ultimate Intern to work for us permanently, not to mention the fact that we launched moderation a couple of weeks ago. Which brings me to the main subject of this blog post.
We got some great feedback from all of you on our moderation features, as well as lots of brilliant ideas for how we could make moderation even more useful. I’m excited to say that today we are launching several of the features you suggested. Now you can schedule your video chats in advance, invite people to join you and, best of all, everyone can add it to their personal calendar with just one click. That’s what I call handy.
A lot has been going on at TokBox Towers the last couple of weeks. We’ve said goodbye to the Ultimate Intern, Andrew; we have welcomed a couple of new members to the TokBox Team, John and Jon (makes it easy to remember their names), we’ve made some improvements and additions to the site, not least of which was the addition of Etherpad, a real-time document collaboration tool, and today’s exciting news is the launch of the TokBox Application for Ning Networks.
If you’ve got a business idea that needs a (financial) helping hand to get off the ground, this could be your chance to find one.
It was great to hear from Gina Turner-Guzman last week about how TokBox is helping her build her home fragrance and candle business, Gold Canyon. She tells me that a really important part of driving the business is training the sales representatives. Given they are spread out all over the country, she was increasingly finding that it wasn’t practical or even economical to get them together in person. That’s when she discovered TokBox.
The hunt is over. We received hundreds of applications from students across the country (and even across the world) and we had a really difficult time trying to choose who would be the TokBox Ultimate Intern this summer. After much deliberation (hence the delay in announcing the winner), I am excited to announce that Andrew Dudum is this summer’s Ultimate Intern. Andrew is a Sophomore at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, studying Finance and Entrepeneurship. He is also the founder of a non-profit called Lend for Peace. This photo shows him with some kids his organization helped.
For long-distance lovers, Candy (aka Atear Forme) and Markshop (aka Markoshop Rocks), TokBox is not just a way of chatting with each other, it is a way of being together, despite the 700 miles that divide them.