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Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Online Jam (and Ask Me Anything)

Intensive online brainstorming, or Q&A with experts

An Online Jam is a virtual gathering to exchange ideas and views on a predetermined topic, or to ask questions of a panel of experts. The interaction takes place at a specific time, usually for about one - two hours, on a social network platform -- either an enterprise (internal) platform such as Yammer (where these events are called YamJams), or a public (external) platform such as Twitter (Twitter Chats or Tweet Jams). Discussion takes place via text posts, sometimes with images or files attached; audio and video are not normally used.

There are two basic types of Online Jam. The first is for members of a team or community who are geographically separated. The Online Jam allows quickly gathering their inputs and holding a brainstorming session.

The second type of Online Jam is called an 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) session. It involves one or more experts, or persons with unique experiences/insights, responding to questions from interested participants, in real time. AMAs are becoming increasingly popular because they offer an easy way for participants to interact directly with experts and ask them whatever they want.

An Online Jam is different from a Skype/Lync meeting: In an Online Jam, all inputs are documented in writing so the record can be easily shared afterwards without the need for someone to take minutes or listen to a recording. An Online Jam is also different from an E-Discussion: An Online Jam takes an hour or two, and all participants are present at the same time. By contrast, an E-Discussion takes place over days or weeks, with participants contributing on their own schedules.


  • Facilitators: minimum two; the more participants expected, the more facilitators there should be.
  • Enterprise social network platform (e.g. Yammer) or public social networking platform (e.g. Twitter).
  • Participants: from 10 to 100 or even more.
  • Optional (for an Ask Me Anything): one or more experts/persons to answer participant questions

Download the full module on the Online Jam and Ask Me Anything (PDF), including when and why to use, how to apply, tips for success, variations, and references. 



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