Formspring

Formspring seems a neat little service.

Formspring

It creates a profile for you on which people can ask questions, either anonymously or by logging in.

Questions don’t become publicly published though until you decide they are worth answering, so there is the possibility for a bit of quality control there.

Also what’s neat is that you can integrate it with a few different social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, so you can ensure people in those spaces get to see your answers.

What’s more, you can grab some embed code so people can submit questions to you from any website or blog.

I can see a potential use for this simple technology for politicians to answer questions in public from citizens. Am sure there are plenty of others too – any ideas?

Here’s my profile. Feel free to try out asking a question on it. I might answer, if you aren’t too rude 😉

Online social media surgery

I love the social media surgery concept, which was pioneered by Pete Ashton in Birmingham, used by me at UK Youth Online and then turned into something amazing by Pete, Nick and others in Birmingham.

I think there is a lot of value in having an online equivalent, just a place where people can ask questions about this stuff and hopefully get some answers from anyone who is browsing at the time. So I have started to build something.

It’s is very much early days, but the prototype site is at socialmediasurgery.com. It’s (obviously) built in Drupal, and as far as I have got so far is repurposing the blog function to act as questions, and comments as answers. Sophisticated it ain’t.

You can add a profile with some details of who you are in it, which might help you get the answers you need, or decide whether you trust the people providing them. There is also a simple rating system in place for answers, so if a response has one star it might well be worth taking with a pinch of social media salt.

Beyond changing a few colours, I haven’t got near to theming the site, I thought it far better to get the features in first. So if it looks like the default Drupal theme, it is. I will get round to changing it at some point.

Other stuff I want to get in:

  • Make the voting system more sophisticated for answers, so the top rated ones float to the top, say, or at least are displayed in a sidebar somewhere
  • Have some kind of karma system, so people who provide well rated answers get some kind of authority rating
  • Ability for users to mark a question as something they are also having problems with

…and probably loads of other stuff too.

So that’s it really. Please let me have any feedback or suggestions, but otherwise, let people who might benefit from the site know about it, and of course do register yourselves in case you can help someone, or get some help yourself…