Earlier this week I was presenting with Stuart Adams in our next to last Kentucky Law Update Social Media tour of the state.  When we finished the presentation we looked at each other, two months after the first presentation was done and said, this is out of date.  Our final session will be in Louisville KY on December 3 and we will definitely be updating the slides for that session.

During the time we have been doing these presentations a few significant things have changed:

  • Bing, Yahoo and Google have all announced plans to add Social Networking Content to search results.
  • Case law has exploded on the issue of Social Media
  • Google Wave has been introduced to the wider public impacting the new “wave of  communications.

Google Wave Today, I’ve been exploring my Google Wave account, getting familiar with exactly what it is, how it can be used and thinking about what its impact may be.  The biggest advantage I see to it right now, is as a replacement for that ongoing email exchange between people working together on a project and the ease of sharing items beyond documents as attachments for which email is so often used.  The rich content that can be embedded into a wave is a useful component of this collaboration.  The “ping” feature seems to be an evolution of instant messaging.

I’ve not yet begun or participated in a wave yet.  My contacts are slowly starting to get their accounts and as the people I work with  on various projects get into the Google Wave space I suspect more collaboration in that space will occur.  This collaboration is intriguing.  The information  and content management involved with my email accounts on different projects frustrates me at times, I wonder if Google Wave will improve that process and decrease my frustration.

The Social Media tools of the Web 2.0 and 3.0 world continue to evolve quickly.  Still a few things remain constant in the effective use of these evolving tools.

  1. Contacts – People you work with and for must also be in the space you want to use.
  2. Strategy – Participants must be clear in how they will use the tools and if truly will be an effective means of collaboration and communication.
  3. Comfort – If 3 out 5 are comfortable using the chosen tool but two are not, then the tool is negated.

I have a client that continues to use an early email address to contact me rather than my answermaven account, no matter how many times I remind him of the personal vs. professional space.  Is this a bad thing?  No, but as we collaborate with new people, they too are directed to my personal account and not the business account.  In then end it doesn’t matter because the work gets done.  It does demonstrate the need for you to meet clients and collaborators in the space they are comfortable with.

The bright shiny, new toy is not for everyone.  In fact, I’m a bit early on the Google Wave bandwagon for my normal practice because I usually leave the testing and exploration of these new tools to trusted colleagues who know me and inform me that now is the time for me to expend the energy to use it.  A few of those colleagues are there but not all.   I’m interested in figuring out if this change truly is an advantage to my time and energy or if it’s a bright shiny tool that doesn’t improve on the basic processes.  Thus my desire to ride the wave and see how this contributes positively to my own business practices led me to be an early adopter in my circle of colleagues.

The underlying factor for my true adoption of this tool will be is it a time waster, frustration causing technology or does it make it easy for me to stay on top of my work.  When I update the presentation for Louisville Google Wave will be discussed and by then I’m sure some other bright shiny innovation will be emerging too.

Constance Ard November 7, 2009.