Big Think: An Inspirational Social Network

Big ThinkIf you are anything like me then chances are you’ve seen a few inspirational videos in your life. The first ones that come to mind are The Secret and all the videos from the Ted conference website. The best produced videos tend to follow a similar pattern: a series of short and powerful statements from highly influential individuals. These videos help viewers begin to ask questions about the future and attempt to inspire them to go out and make a change. The Big Think website has one of these videos right in the middle of their homepage.

The purpose of the site is supposedly to spark conversation about where we are headed globally. According to the company’s release:

Combining journalistically produced interviews with user-generated content, and playing both moderator and mediator, Big Think bridges what was an evident gap between credible, informed editorial opinion and the less controlled freestyle of online social media – thus creating a dynamic and wholly unique breed of engagement platform.

As you browse around the site there are a number of other videos from highly influential individuals with areas to post comments and create discussion. While I would suggest to the owners of this site that they seed the site with content to encourage new visitors to participate, the videos may have a large enough impact on a few visitors to inspire them to contribute.

My overall experience with the site was a mixed one. There is some great video content but that’s about it. Additionally, while browsing the site I repeatedly received database failure messages suggesting that this site is definitely not ready for prime-time. It’s hard to slam a site that’s trying to inspire change though. In addition to having influential individuals reply to questions on the site, anybody can register and post their own video response to a variety of questions displayed throughout the site.

I think this site has the potential of sparking some interesting dialog. It would be nice to see this site tied in with actionable items. It’s difficult to give viewers serious issues to talk about and then not guide them on what to do to help incite change. If you enjoy classically inspirational videos, you will find some great content to listen to for a while on this site. Hopefully visitors will actually begin to participate in the conversation. Nobody is participating so far.