Friday, October 23, 2009

False Advertising

Since when did vehicles "Improve the Environment"? Do they repair the ozone, clean up the rivers, reduce pollution?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

...another ethnic faux paux?

I'm proud to announce the debut sociological insight from my brother Nick Gesser, who snapped this pic recently in nearby Jeffersonville, IN. Take a look at the wording at the top of the sign on the left. He told me he did a double take when he saw the sign, and practiced a little bit of mobile documentation himself!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Google Wave Review 5

Making Information via Waves Useful

First off, if you are not using Wave or are not familiar with how it works, this post might be difficult to understand.

Something I have been wrestling with for several days is making the use and product of Waves useful (see Google Wave Review 4). The labeling and/or tagging what are called blips is important to prevent duplication; and more importantly, to allow the categorization of information and knowledge.

Here is why this is important. There are several Waves centered around the same topic and discussion; sometime with duplicate users. For the sake of conversation, ok. But there needs to be an manner in which like information can also be shared across Waves.

I know tagging within a blip is a lot to consider, so perhaps the ability of the Wave creator to categorize groups of blips, comments, etc...? Then a "bank of tags" or something of the like could be housed. Think Users over time can then consolidate information via tags, house them privately etc...

And think about this: haven't seen this idea yet. How about integrating the "Add This" or "Share" function in blips, Waves? That way an entire conversation could be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc...?

I believe the Groups: Final Solution Wave was getting at this notion of categorization of information, but the focus in that Wave became in the form of groups.

However, information, discussion, ideas, etc... also have to be grouped in order to have functionality as that knowledge relates to other knowledge, and how it's useful for people.

Google Wave Review 4

Collaborative Tool?

I currently use Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, Blackboard, and a blog (and other things, believe it or not), and while Wave at this point is very interesting, I could not in this form use it productively with my Sociology students.

At current there is just not added value as a collaborative tool beyond what the aforementioned tools provide for me. It is sooooo freeform, which is good to a point. Beyond that the information seems to get lost, individual Waves themselves fall apart. There are no logical endpoints. Humans just are not ready to alter interaction and communication effectively in this way.

I see Wave could be a lot like Twitter: a core product is made best by add ons, extensions, and third party apps.

I believe Wave could be used for creative thinking, on the fly input. It is so difficult to massage/guide/facilitate the flow of input, information, and the formation of knowledge utilizing Wave.

Perhaps implementing a tag/keyword function within blips would help. There are so many things that can be suggested that likely will be addressed via extensions, etc...

What is meant by using Google Wave as a collaborative tool? Collaboration needs to be defined. Does it mean two or more people getting in a Wave and having free flowing, interaction that is essentially melded? Does collaboration mean two or more people interacting that leads to the formation of ideas and subsequent knowledge? How does the information and ideas become categorized? How is knowledge connected to other knowledge?

The categorization of ideas and formation of knowledge here is incredibly disruptive in the format of the Wave. Google Wave is difficult to grasp because it is not how humans interact in a face-to-face or virutal environment. At current, and I know it is ever changing, for me it is very disorganized; so much that it is not very useful for building knowledge and learning.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Google Wave 3


A popular theme, as expected, on Google Wave that I've noticed amongst a group of educators is the functionality of Wave.

Beyond the fact that it has bugs (slow, locking up), much discussion in the educator section (some found here) is how could Wave be used in the organizational setting.

Amongst the ideas: wikis, customer service, advising, and discussion boards.

A standard that is bubbling up is the number of people suitable to make a Wave useful. I participated in one Wave that had over 400 people, and it stopped just short of chaos. Early on participation in the Wave was robust, but after a very short time hundreds of messages can appear in the Wave, and it simply becomes impossible to keep up with. Hence, that Wave came to a grinding halt.

Talking about functionality at this stage of Wave is perhaps a bit moot as we begin to see bots, gadgets, and extensions being built for Wave. Just as the Twitter core was developed, Twitter did not gain a wider spread use until extensions, apps, and third party services tapped into its API (think Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop, Twitpic, etc...).

At current it appears many of the "Wave extras" are being built for the internal Wave.

As with Twitter, I'm curious to see how third party services extending the functionality outside of the Wave into websites and peripheral internet use will grow the idea of Google Wave: communication and collaboration.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Google Wave Review 2

Why Collaboration is a sticking point

It will be very interesting to see what informal and formal situations will guide the use of Google Wave.

Given the heightened nature of interaction, how often, and how deep will participants Wave?

There's no question that social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter have filled a gap of connection for nearly every cohort, at least in US society.

But what about the depth of interaction, the willingness to "work together" on not only relationships, but informal and formal projects? At a basic level, will users get together via Google Wave to plan a night on the town, a short field trip, or share images, video, and other artifacts regarding an event or experience?

For organizations that thrive on collaboration of ideas and projects, an adoption of the Google Wave "system" into their existing communication structure would be ideal. This potential that I garnered from watching the initial Google Wave video struck me as profound.

That indeed might be what is needed for users to experience the possibilities as it relates to meaningful communication with strangers and significant others alike. I just don't know that people have a willingness or desire for the type of communication that Google Wave can afford. Yet.

Will casual use over time by participants result in enough of a critical mass that Google Wave could have the type of benefit regarding human communication and collaboration that would come near its potential? Likely only on a community (both real and virtual) by community basis at first.

Google Wave Review 1

Well, I was fortunate enough to get a Google Wave invite last night, and I spent about 4 hours playing around with it.

Here are some initial thoughts. After "waving" with three people, what struck me the most was the sense of melding of communication. When in a "wave", you can see what the other person(s) is typing in real time, you can be typing at the same time, and you can enter into another one's comments as they are typing to address something that perhaps you find in the middle of their sentence.

That is an extremely interesting notion, one that will take a while for folks to become comfortable with. After waving for a bit, and because of this, I at least got a sense of fulfillment. I waved with three people that I had never met before, and the openness and willingness to share was something very "cool", maybe extraordinary.

I use the word extraordinary intentionally, because I believe a significant issue with using Google Wave will be the willingness of others to engage and collaborate with others. Thus overcoming this barrier could point the way to collaboration on an unprecedented level. That to me is very exciting.

One does have control over the tempo of each Wave. However, the norms around "how to Wave" are completing up in the air at current. I believe that establishing common norms around "netiquette" was a useful framework to better assist everyone in knowing proper and improper manners and actions of interaction for forums, discussion boards, and now found in text messaging. Some of that will obviously be carried over into Google Wave, but nothing more at current exists regarding Google Wave.

Why is this important? Because users are "playing" with Google Wave trying to determine what it is, and more importantly, what is it for. The most significant potential use, as I see for Google Wave, is collaboration. This then is why I see collaboration as a major issue. With Google Wave, people have the chance to collaborate at a pace and without barriers in ways that I have never seen or participated.

So at current, for me at the very very early stages of using Google Wave, is that it is a very open medium for communication and collaboration. I sense that many with Google Wave accounts really like it, but just do not know how, under what circumstances, and the what to expect when one engages with others in a Wave.