Chris Pirillo led the first afternoon discussion at BloggerCon on the "power of users." Doc Searls notes on the discussion are here, and you can listen to the podcast from this page or download it. Chris' premise is as follows:
As a blogger, you have tremendous opportunities to tell developers what you need, what you expect, and what you want. You are the user - power or casual. If you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody’s going to do it for you. And contrary to popular belief, developers aren’t gods - and neither are users. If this is a real ecosystem, we need balance where none currently exists. Problem is, as users, we have to deal with the developers - who don’t always see the world from a user’s perspective. I’m not suggesting a revolution - I’m merely asking for other passionate users to start speaking up for the things they care about. I want to know if I’m the only user out there who isn’t afraid to say something (right or wrong) about the applications I work with (good or bad).
Chris Pirillo, Dave Winer and Doc Searls talking about users in charge at BloggerCon IV
The discussion consisted mostly of the participants offering up their worst user experiences, It was like a psychotherapy session with the group purging their anger by talking about what makes bad software. Some of the complaints:
Terry Heaton--I really don't like being treated like an idiot with FAQs. There ought to be FAQs for idiots and ones for people that might be looking for something. My biggest complaint is an inability to contact them. They bury the contact information so deeply that it can't be found.
Mark Glaser--Wish there were a place to where users could get together and use all power to cause harm to a company, such as Dell if you have a probelm with one of their products, to get them to pay attention when you have a problem. (Note: someone in the audience said that if you type in "Dell support," the fourth link down is "What The F*** is with Dell Technical Support?! by Jeremy Zawodny. Verified.) Mark goes on, "Yahoo mail. sucks off and on. No customer support whatsoever, much like Dell. How can I get anybody's attention?"
Lisa Stone--Many user conversations feel like an us verus them. People who enjoy the product and those who can't figure it out. How can we have a conversation about a product without us versus them?
Jay Rosen said that he is a technophobe, but blogging has helped him. He tells how Firefox tabs astounded him when he discovered them, and how he totally lost confidence in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. "You totally violated my trust because you could have done it but you didn't," Rosen said about Microsoft.
Is there any way this organization can put these is writing, detail what the perfect app is and post it on the Web, said someone in the audience. The more users can get their feedback to developers, the better.