13 November 2009

Personal Technology: I'm Waving

Do you remember the anticipation of gmail? Waiting for an invitation? It took months for me. Once initiated to the email system, I have never gone back to Outlook. Well, except for when clients require it, which, as it happens, two do.

I admire universities that have settled on commercial vendors like Google and Yahoo for their email systems. And admire even more those universities that simply say, use any email system (and address) you care to. The key to such a liberal policy is to not try to administer any of it, of course.

Contrasting gmail to everything else, the obvious winner is gmail. Ah, until wave turned up. And it is turning up. I imagine we'll know in a few months whether it's the next obvious winner.

Wave is all about conversation and my early experimentation with it suggests that it's also about speed. Streamlined access to communicating means that email and IM merge (to a ping, even) and then extras are thrown in, too. Like Google Gears. I don't have that loaded yet. But I think it's the drag and drop functionality that just worked its way into gmail this year, too.

OK. So, back to anticipation. Wave is coming by invitation just as gmail did. Good reasons for that, likely. Good way to beta or preview while error reports can be tracked and responded to. Good way to take advantage of early adopters who will tend to do anything for novelty. Good way to market a new product. You know, maximizing that anticipation factor.

So, how did I get wave? Well, it wasn't Google deciding to include boomers although surely there are a few accidentally in the first wave of wave. More likely, the first wave is composed of people just as young as those showing up on my contact list. You see, when I log into wave, it produces a list of wave-enabled users who are also on my gmail list of 2,093 contacts. (Yes, that was a wake-up call.)

I was invited to wave by one of the 5 people that appear on my wave contact list. I'm pretty sure the oldest person there is about 30. No, maybe 35. But the other 4 are 30 or younger. One is a professional staffer at Sloan-C (consortium on distance learning). Two are PhD-holders who are technical managers at Texas universities. One is a PhD student at Stanford. And one is a PhD alum from Princeton who now works in a non-profit. (And I am merely the old person that one of them fondly thought to share a wave with.)

Here's how compelling a wave can be... my laptop is on its last leg, which is to say that Tom Bold inherits it very soon. So, I'm tending it cautiously to keep functioning while I wait for holiday sales. You know what that means: lots of back-ups and no new software. Until wave popped up it's advisory that I need a newer or different browser in order to use the conversation system. (See how I'm already learning the new lingo.) I did not hesitate. I downloaded chrome on the spot.

I hope you are similarly compelled to catch the next wave. I plan to invite all my friends. Of course, it will take a while to work through my gmail contact list....

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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