Don't let chance remarks kill ideas or push you into another direction - David L. Morgan, Focus Groups as Qualitative Research
This statement can be interpreted in some many different ways concerning the recent Immersion experience. It could apply to the first time the virtual collaboration center (VCC) was mentioned to the iTeam ("... you know, we just purchased this great desktop web conferencing equipment ..."), it could apply to the reaction of an SME when the idea of the VCC was discussed (she laughed), or it could refer to the recent comments of the target audience that not only embraces the idea, but has built their own perceptions of what the iTeam is expected to accomplish with the VCC ("... it is up to you to determine what tools we can use in the VCC ..."). This is all well and good, however the iTeam has recently struggled with how we came to the conclusion that a VCC adequately meets the needs of T/TAC Online users. With the idea of the VCC, our target audience has narrowed significantly (to 15 people ... and compared to the number of people T/TAC Online serves, this "narrowed significantly" is an understatement). So, the iTeam wants to back up and check our assumptions. While this seems like a good idea, and I agree whole-heartedly that this is the right thing to do and we need to do it, I'm afraid we will be wasting our time -- the client is sold on the VCC concept and if we proceed with an in-depth survey opened up to all T/TAC Online users and find that there are more pressing needs for this audience, I don't think our team will be the group to address this problem. This would be another perfect project for a future Immersion team to tackle ...
Web 2.0 tools update
So, as I'm sure you have noticed, I have tested some free tools recently. My first impressions:
Springdoo - I love how easy this tool is to use. Recording a video and sending it via email or posting a video to a blog is quite simple. However, the problem I'm having is with their lovely Springcaster tool. Springcaster is an audio and video broadcasting widget you can embed into any blog or webpage. You can record directly into the widget and it stores your audio and video along with your other messages for everyone to skim through and access. Unfortunately, I have tried to embed their auto-generated code into a webpage and a blog with no success. I have contacted their tech support - they have been very responsive so far and are diligently working on the problem. I will keep you posted on the progress to resolve this issue.
PodOmatic - Ok, I love the ability to create and post a podcast (both video and audio), create the RSS feed, and host your podcasts for free without going through 20 different steps. If you want something quick and dirty and you don't have some sort of editing software like Garageband at your disposal, then this freebie should work. Drawbacks - Don't use their embedded audio/video recorder. The picture and sound are sub par at best. In addition, I found that it takes longer to load your episode to my podcasts page when using the embedded recorder. But my biggest pet peeve? The spammers within the PodOmatic "community". I haven't been a member for a full week and I already had to turn off email notifications and comments on my podcasts. Emails to their tech support so far have gone unanswered. Not the best experience so far ... so onto the next free podcasting tool.