That is the question. Whether ’tis easier in the mind to just use email, to suffer the slings and arrows crashes and error messages of outrageous fortune Outlook Express*, or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them?
*other email clients are available and just as buggy if not more so.
Yup, the KG blog goes all cultured on you and hits you with a bit of Hamlet.
You see, I’ve been using Google Wave for a few weeks now and I think I’ve got my head round it. Google have created what I believe could become the next evolution of email and are making Waves in a sea of email troubles.
The basic functions are the same as email.
You type up a message, attach files if required, and send it to the recipient. Where Wave augments this basic funtionality is its collaborative capabilities.
If the recipient of the message I just sent is online then they can respond instantly, edit something I’ve already written, add to it, add participants to the wave, add pictures, embed a video…and who knows what else as time goes on?
Google Wave is still in public Beta, and as such it’s a wee bit tricky for the less web-savvy user. The search parameters are horrible. I happened upon them by accident and have since pointed a few well experienced web users in their direction.
The application as a whole, while built around the Web 2.0, does seem to be a bit resource hungry. There’s almost no point trying to use it on my Acer Aspire One running Linux, and if I’ve got a few Firefox tabs plus Photoshop open on the windows desktop then Wave can slow to a frustrating crawl.
But that aside, it’s a good idea with the potential to transform working practise for anyone who needs to collaborate with others in their work.
Now, I’m a technology geek and I have the horrible habit of assuming that if you’re reading my blog, or following me on Twitter, then you’re geek too. But maybe you’re not a geek. And just maybe you have no idea what Google Wave actually is.
I’m not going to tell you.
All I’m going to say is that it’s a collaborative editing tool, and the best description I’ve heard was on this chap’s blog where he describes it as “multiplayer Word.” You can also take a look at a post by Cristiana Theodoli on how it could shape the newsrooms of the future.
What I’ve been using it for has, by and large, been just a bit of experimentation with the capabilities. I used it to get some comments and ideas from sci-fi fans about a feature I was writing for uni, I used it to let my colleagues proof read said feature and I used it to make contact with a bunch of other journalism students in another university.
That last one is interesting. My lot are the MAMJs (MA Multimedia Journalism) and the other lot are the MAOJs (MA Online Journalism). We’re from Glasgow, they’re from Birmingham. There’s been some good chat back and forth between a few of us, but it seems to be only 2 or 3 from each side who are actually participating.
I’ve also tried setting up a LinkedIn directory wave – we’ll see where that goes.
Ultimately I’m quite excited about where Google Wave could go. If you read Cristiana’s post, linked to above, and consider along with that that Sky News have installed TweetDeck on every journalist’s PC and told them to get tweeting, then the newsroom of the future is just around the corner.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for anyone studying journalism, or anyone employed in journalism who wants to stay there for the forseeable future, to either get their heads around Wave or go gentle in to that good night (Dylan Thomas? My, I’m on literary form today!).
I have some invites left. Get in touch via Twitter if you want one.