This is nice, and another example of how mainstream media embrace social media: the Financial Times runs a number of blogs, and one of their major blogs is FT Alphaville (about all things markets). It’s a very classical blog, but they also have a daily chat session and a kind of virtual club where members gather and have discussions about finance and economics. That club is called the Long Room and was inspired by a famous restaurant in the City of London that was a favorite haunt of financial pundits and market movers during the 1980s. I posted about it on PBS MediaShift.
Today FT Alphaville launched an extension of the daily chat session: Macro Live. This will be “a freewheeling real-time conversation — but will instead focus on key US economic indicators and other significant news releases that are expected to affect both the markets and the broader economy.”
Just have a look at the transcript of the Macro Live about the decision by the Federal Reserve to pump an extra $600 billion into the American economy. The great advantage of chat is that it actually can only be a conversation. It’s a serious but informal and sometimes real funny exchange of information, ideas and questions. It’s a great opportunity to bring members of the newspaper community together. Of course, and rather important for financial news, it’s extremely fast.
Of course it would be nice to do this in a 3D virtual environment, but 1) text chat works very well and 2) for now these virtual environments present awkward trade-offs between graphical sophistication and technological and organizational challenges. I mean that in order to have a real 3D virtual environment, one needs decent hardware, solutions for firewalls and enough capacity to accommodate larger groups. Or one has to settle for a much less sophisticated environment.
I really hope we’ll soon see some compelling 3D environments accessible in a browser, in order to enhance those great chat experiences!