I’m surprised that very many people aren’t using Google Wave for their collaboration efforts. I think it’s a really simple, decent, powerful tool to capture conversational elements and to collaborate. I’m using it to build out my new company. I’m using it to work on projects with clever people. I’m using it to talk about the new book with Julien. I’m using it to integrate Rob Hatch into my new company. I’m using it to plan a new nonprofit project (with Jon and Marc).
I think people just still aren’t getting what to do with it. I’ll tell you how I see it, and I’d love to hear what you think, differently or not, about that. Because to me, Wave was sold as “a replacement for email” and that’s the LAST thing that comes to mind when I think about it.
Wave is a Time-Shifted Conversation
So, imagine Google Wave is the phone. Jon and Marc and Rob start talking, but at different times. They add some thoughts. I sneak in, read over what they’ve done, and I add some thoughts of my own. It’s as if we’re on the phone planning something, and yet, I added my ideas at a totally different time.
It’s threaded. It’s sorted. It’s a kind of thing where you can go in, see the flow of the conversation, and add where you want. In these ways, it’s sort of a gmail-shaped version of forum software, only you pick and choose the team you’re talking with.
Tips for Wave
The best way I’ve found of using it is like this:
- Keep the collaboration teams small and relevant.
- Put the good stuff up at the top. The “gold” that you’ve all agreed upon.
- Use everything below the first few “blips” (the little pods) for conversation.
- To be tidy, if things are off-topic, go back in and delete the off-topic stuff, unless it will act as a breadcrumb trail to how you got to an idea.
- Start new waves if they get too long.
- Shift off-topic stuff to a new wave for organizing.
- Tag waves and folder them.
The New Wave
There have been very few updates to Wave, but one that’s kind of interesting is that you can now use some pre-formatted waves:
I don’t use them. I use blanks, but I like that this is an option, because it gives you a sense of how others have been using Wave.
Try it for a Project Collaboration
The best way to get into it is to use it to work on a project. If you’re launching a blog, or prepping for a new sale, or whatever it is your business does, try using Wave as a collaboration space. Try using it more than email. See what comes of the project.
What’s your experience been?