How to Google Wave - Lessons Learned in First 30 Days
Google Wave is still in Beta. I have 19 invites yet to give out. I will do so only to those who are producers vs. talkers. Creators vs. wasters. Here is what I have learned thus far about the inner workings of Google Wave. (Again, it is still in Beta. These can change in an instant!)
First. Google Wave is not meant to be a complicated thing. Four boxes. Simple tool bar. No set up. A few extra boxes. It is a tool for having conversations. In fact since this is still in beta, the settings options are still in process.
2nd. It is better not to have a long conversation. Just as when you talk to someone over the course of several days and the history gets a bit jumbled; the conversations can ebb and flow, leaving poor memories a week later. One conversation (Wave) has almost 185 blips. Scrolling through these to get to the last reply is not a click of a button. Wish it was.
3rd. Even though there is a re-run button, I have avoided using it to play the converstation again. Re-runs are only for use as a last resort. It is easier and less time consuming to simply as a question again. Have not yet taken the opportunity to invite someone into a Wave already in process and have them replay to catch up. It is on my "to do" list.
4th. A Wave will not print. Not a big worry for me since I don't like paper much. Google Wave is not a tool to use should you want to create something to be later distributed to the dirtworld. This is also irrelevant to mobile devices, I would think. The more I use the Wave, the more I believe it to be designed for "on the go".
5th. Can't remove someone from a Wave. Uh oh. You invited someone to the party by accident? You have a week of information and you have been secretly talking about them? Then, during your lack of coffee day, you push their photo? Uh oh. Get your delete button going. Or your edit button. It is time to cover your tracks.
6th. If you make an error, go back and delete or edit the blip. Of course, someone can go back and change your words as well. If you are a control freak and don't appreciate someone changing your thoughts, this may not be for you. There is one good point. You can replay the Wave and it picks right up on each keystroke when someone messes with your words. When the person who makes the changes hits "done", their photo is also inserted into the blip.
7th. You can make a blip look a little more lively. With a toolbar of basic functions, you can change text size, color, and fonts, or add bullet points help to emphasize points more clearly. I like this. I am a bullet kind a guy.
8th. It is not a good place to get on a soap box. Since it squeezes the blip off to the right a long dialogue seems even longer when shared in the blip. Use for less involved conversations. Use the attachment option to share documents if you want to be more involved with details.
9th Don't do what I did. Learn about "tags tool" AFTER the many blips and very long waves. If you are trying to review 180 blip messages to find a specific point, use the tags tool from day one for each blip just as you do for a blog and that will save headaches later. I have not yet discovered (or don't remember) the method to search for the word or phrase.
10th. Since you can see what the other person is typing, you will be tempted to respond before they are finished. This, of course, is rude. Especially when you have bad assumptions. Another reason not to have a long dialogue with each blip if the other person needs to be somewhere else. Patience is needed.
11th. The Wave does not go away. Like email, a Wave continues and sticks so that there is not a requirement to respond immediately. I like this. On the other hand, once you start a Wave it never goes away. You can move it into the "trash" folder and make it disappear, but try to empty the trash. Nope. That smelly trash is still in the trash folder. Is this a big deal? Maybe not. It is a new way of thinking.
12th. You can drag and drop images, files and video right into a Wave. There is still some coordination on my end needed though. If the windows are not less than full screen it is hard to drag and drop. More testing is needed for me.
13th. If you send an invitiation to someone and they do not accept, the invite is gone. Be sure the other person is interested or you give up one of your Wavers.
There you have it. The lucky 13 will be enough for today. All in all, I like Google Wave because it is a quick way to have a conversation one on one OR many to many, where everyone can see the exact same conversation. There are limitations but it is not designed to be the answer to all problems.
It is fast and on a mobile device could be a big plus over other current online tools. All of the above points need to be taken with a grain of sand. Google Wave is still in Beta. This means it could be like we are driving a test car with no headlights and wipers to give the engine a thorough test.
Google Wave is a strange animal. It is more than Twitter, and has characteristics of Facebook. It is Instant Messaging and yet has the stickiness of LinkedIn. It offers sharing of photos and documents and is not best suited for writing a book. It is reminding me: Brevity is good.
It is a keeper and will be much better when out of beta. Then the invitation limits will be lifted. I can have an online meeting with someone via a mobile device, share a link / page without 140 character limits and stay private all the while.
How is Google Wave working for you? Chris Brogan helped me "get it" and Dr. Bruce Hoag and Deborah Bishop were willling to jump in to test it. Thank you Chris, Bruce, and Deborah. Takes more than one to have a conversation.
Except, of course, for those like me who talk to themselves.