I’ve just created a new sidebar widget that showcases my (extremely limited) technical skills. Just below my photo on the right you’ll notice a blue rectangle that reads “Ask Me a Question”. Clicking on this launches a mailto: (assuming you have a local mail client configured), routing any resulting messages to a Gmail account I set up specifically for this purpose.
I have a long explanation for why I did this, but the short version is this: as I sat down to write my first post on this blog I was reminded of one of our surprise insights from Judy’s Book. Unless they’re in the habit of writing online, most people struggle to create an interesting new post from scratch. But present the same person with a simple question – particularly on a subject they know well and are passionate about – and they’ll have no trouble producing thoughtful and well-written content. We called it the “empty page” problem, and our public Q&A feature was a very successful tool for turning passive readers into active posters.
So give it a try. If I think I have a good answer to your question I’ll repost it, along with my answer, in an upcoming post. Oh, and if you include your name and a link to your blog or website I’ll link back to you in my response.
I’m eager to see what kind of conversations this gets going (if anyone takes me up on it, that is…).