Catch the Wave! Social Media or Collaboration.

by Roger G. Best

There has been a lot of buzz lately about both Google Wave and Windows 7, and rightly so as I see it.  Both have great potential of making a big splash in the industry and population at large.  We’re seeing tons of “hits” on these two products in both the press and in the various flavors of Social Media. It’s still “up in the air” as to which will have gotten more attention… Since October 22nd was the actual release date for Windows 7, I suspect that Windows 7 will get a bigger “buzz” for the next few days.  But, tomorrow is another day, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 

When all is said and done about Windows 7 it does end up being just another upgrade to the familiar operating system. From everything that I have heard it is the product Vista should have been which is why many are calling it Vista 2.0. Of course Vista failed to convince many IT managers of its real worth and now with upgrade path is painted as a MUST for corporate IT.

Since this installment is focused more on Google Wave, let’s move into that topic for now.  At this point, Google Wave is in limited release and the reviews have been positive.  It promises to offer a whole new approach to email, among other things.  I’ve seen descriptions that cover the full spectrum of collaborative communication, including social networking, but most of them fall short of what Wave is capable of delivering. From what I’ve seen, I believe it has the potential to deliver a collaborative platform like we’ve never seen before.

We’re all familiar with email and how it works.  In fact, email has risen to the level of being considered indispensible in most business, and even personal, environments.  It’s easy, quick and cost effective, but it’s limited to sending messages, replying to those messages and transferring documents/files as needed.  Many of the messaging platforms offer some collaborative, or work-flow, opportunities, but even those fall short of the work on-the-fly capabilities offered by Google Wave. If you use email to accommodate this function you may find that pulling all the threads together to deliver a finished product can be challenging to say the least. It is simply too easy to miss a proposed update that may have been important to the final product. Wave has the capability of delivering all comments/thoughts on a collaborative project in a medium that is much more visible, and less likely to be overlooked, than does more traditional messaging platforms. 

I don’t want to get into a detailed description of what Google Wave offers (that’s simply a BIG topic), but I think it might be good to address what situations might be a good fit for Wave and which are better suited for other offerings.  There are a great many misunderstand concepts about how the product should be used. One of the primary functions of Wave is to work with a restricted set of people, or a team that is working to a common goal. If I am working on a document for Project A and I’m working with Mary, John, Jill and Bob, Wave will help me keep all related subject matter separate from Project B, which will involve Mary, Judy, Joseph, and Jill. On neither project do I involve my entire network, if you wish to do that I’d simply publish an article on Facebook or whatever your network media of choice is. That is NOT the purpose of Wave. Ultimately Wave is more about team collaboration than about networking. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the product approximately a month after its launch, particularly if you have direct experience with it.

Posted in: Social Media, Windows 7

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