The 2014 Conversation Prism seen through the eyes of the a2b3 lunch


Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The [Conversation Prism] is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life.

In 2009, I wrote up how the a2b3 lunch organizes itself through the eye of the this system. I ran across it again, and decided to do a repeat.

[Conversation Prism];
* Social networks: Facebook, Yahoo Groups

You’ll see Yahoo Groups show up in lots of the entries, because the a2b3 mailing list is the heart and soul of the whole effort. Facebook plays second fiddle, with a lot less people watching the a2b3 group on Facebook, and a lot less traffic to that group.

  • Blog: Typepad

See the a2b3 category on my Typepad blog . Mostly the specific thing that gets blogged about is the a2b3 lunch non-summaries, which I like going back to but which also take enough time to do that I don’t always do them.

  • Crowd Wisdom: Yahoo Groups, lunch conversation
  • Questions and answers: Yahoo Groups, lunch conversation

The crowd is good about answering almost any reasonable question you throw at it, either at lunchtime or on the mailing list, and coming up with an answer. We don’t need Quora or their ilk to get a good answer.

  • Comments: Disqus, Yahoo Groups, lunch conversation

I converted over this Typepad install to Disqus comments, but really, the comments are in the discussions on the mailing list and over lunch.

  • Social commerce: ?
  • Social marketplace: ?

No one yet has found a reason or a compelling method to sell things to each other, which is fine.

  • Social streams: Twitter

There is an @a2b3 twitter feed that I very occasionally post to which has 500+ followers and only 150+ tweets. There’s an opportunity to improve on that effort. If I could, I would automatically tweet out the stream from Meetup, but I haven’t figured out yet how IFTTT plays with Meetup.

  • Location: Meetup, Foursquare

The a2b3 Meetup answers the question of “where is lunch going to be”, and provides nice maps. It’s the one piece of the 2009 landscape that was missing, and I’m happy with the results. Foursquare answers the question of “where do you eat lunch”. I put together a [map of recent a2b3 lunch spots on Foursquare] without too much work. Perhaps I’ll start checking in on Foursquare.

  • Nicheworking: ?

What is this I don’t even.

  • Enterprise: Slack

The enterprisiest tool I have for lunch is the a2b3 Slack instance, a closed system (you’re invited, just ask) which does chat (a la IRC) and newsfeed syndication. It’s great as a tool, but it’s not just the right fit for this particular group.

  • Wiki: Arborwiki (Localwiki)

Localwiki is a perfect fit for a local lunch group, because you can stash away answers to questions about the area as they come up and then refer back to them later as needed. Arborwiki has been running for 8+ years and has been a tremendous asset to a2b3.

  • Discussion and forums: Yahoo Groups

The a2b3 Yahoo Group is the key to the whole system. Without it, I guess I’d reconstruct a mailing list with Google Groups. Please don’t ever ruin it, Yahoo!

  • Business: LinkedIn

LinkedIn groups can be tedious to manage, and their discussion forums never took off. However, it’s an easy way to read people’s resumes, so there’s a LinkedIn group for a2b3.

  • Service networking: ?

Not sure what this is.

  • Reviews and ratings: Yahoo Groups, Arborwiki

We don’t need a separate review system when Arborwiki is there to either catch reviews or at least to point to same on Yelp. For real-time reviews in response to queries, there’s the Yahoo group. Who’s Angie?

  • Social curation: Pinterest

If you add a map to a Pinterest board, you can pin Foursquare locations and their photos. So I did.

  • Video: Youtube, I guess

Here’s a “how to organize lunch” video from Ignite Ann Arbor 3.

  • Content / documents: a2docs (Scribd)

a2docs is a place to stash government records for the Ann Arbor area. It’s powered by Scribd.

  • Events: Meetup

Meetup is new to the group since 2013. Over the span of 6 months I’ve used it to organize two dozen events. Meetup is a little bit pricy for what you get, but they have timing for meetup updates down pat and a very low-impact way of keeping people informed. Join the a2b3 Meetup to get weekly announcements of lunch locations.

  • Music: Soundcloud

The official a2b3 chime (played at 12:30pm on Thursdays) is hosted on Soundcloud.

  • Livecasting: Ustream

We don’t livecast meetings as a rule, but if we did, it would probably be through Ustream which I’ve used for other events.

  • Social bookmarks:

The a2b3 tag on pinboard captures bookmarks. Bookmarking is not from this decade, and thus it’s not religiously kept up.

  • Influence: Klout, I guess

I only say this because former a2b3 regular Joe Cothrel works at Lithium, which just acquired Klout.

  • Quantified self: ?

This is all about keeping track of what you do (e.g. tracking exercise with a pedometer or a phone) and sharing that with yourself or the world. Several people in the group do this but we haven’t all coalesced on any single platform to share.


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