Make Hashtags Really Work with Joint

I leave the state for a couple of days and something new comes to town. New tool, Joint, brings a novel perspective on Twitter hashtags and conversations around topics, events or other subjects of common interest. Brought to you by the very fine folk who brought you Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan Gahng seems to have another winner here. Joint essentially takes Twitter hashtags and creates chat rooms around the tag – giving those interested in the tag a place to actively converse with others interested in the same topic. It also shows the Twitter stream of users tweeting the hashtag – you can tweet directly with the hashtag from the interface, invite the tweeters into the chat, engage in the chat, neither or both. In the left column, there is a list of all of the hashtags you have visited – also known as channels. Once you visit, they stay in that column for later perusal. This column will also show you when there is a new tweet on a hashtag or people in the chatroom for that hashtag. Chat stays inside the application. When you join a channel, Joint prompts you to tweet about it in order to encourage others to join in – there is a link to the chat in the tweet. Check out a sample window (of Ethan’s view) from the “How Joint Works” button.

I find it difficult to follow hashtags. I do use them occasionally, mostly for Follow Friday or when I need to get some angles on a particular topic like iPhones, iPads, or other discreet subjects that are likely to have lots of up to date tweets. But you really can’t interact effectively around them, particularly if you are not following the tweeters and/or they don’t follow you. Joint solves that communications barrier by offering two means within one window to discuss the news. Check out the main directory to find active chats / hashtags and jump right in.

Joint would be absolutely perfect for keeping on top of events (conferences, seminars, natural disasters) and actually speaking with others about and sharing around them, rather than passively watching 140 characters bites flow by.

Just as I have found with Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan is genius at taking good ideas (blogs, Twitter) and making them far more effective, while keeping it simple for the end user. Check out Joint and check back here with your thoughts.

Wanna Chat? Check out Pip.io

There are so many places to hang out on the Web. There are the big two: Facebook  and Twitter . There are other larger planets in the solar system, like LinkedIn  and MySpace , as well as countless other satellites that revolve around these two, such as Google Buzz ,  Plaxo , Friendfeed , Plurk , etcetera.

So, you probably aren’t thinking right now: “Gee, where can I spend even more of my on-line time publishing, communication and connecting?”  But maybe you should.

Check out Pip.io (link here). It is a relatively recent social tool that just came out of beta last month. More than a social network, Pip.io  calls itself a “social operating system.” I call it Google Wave  for the masses. Pip.io’s format is very chat-like – you create your profile and then set your “availability” for your connections to see. When you communicate via Pip.io, you can set your parameters narrowly (e.g. a private chat with a single individual) or broadly (a public broadcast to all friends of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube). You can also “target” someone’s stream with a post: not quite private but focused communication intended for a specific user or group. Pip.io gives you tools to be both efficient and private in your web communications at the same time. Sort of like your own dashboard for your social web communication.

Just this weekend, a Twitter friend was telling me that he communicates differently on different platforms, that he holds back more on Facebook because the audience dictates more discretion. With Pip.io, you can set who sees what across platforms by creating groups for certain types of communications, thereby eliminating concern with your degree of sharing.

But that is not all. You can form rooms and invite others to join you to discuss or share on topics. There is also a video chat feature. Pip.io has its own version of a retweet – you can reshare within Pip.io or send the content forth to your own social outposts. “Friending” on Pip.io is like Twitter and Friendfeed, where you can follow anyone without their express agreement or any obligation to follow you back.

I still struggle with Twitter as a communication platform. I agree as well with my Twitter friend that my Facebook population does not promote the same “free” communication I might employ elsewhere. If your desire is to streamline your communication on-line, to implement better channeling and discussion, and break down boundaries to that discussion, Pip.io may well be the best option. At the least, it affords a simple “one stop” locale for managing chat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity. At the most, it appears to provide a true communication forum for social interaction.

Check it out. I would love to hear what you think.

Google Wave Extensions: 6rounds

6roundsI was going to link this comment to my original blog post on Google Wave, but I ultimately thought it best to simply copy and paste this as a new post right here for maximum visibility. From Natasha at 6rounds.com, the first video chat widget for Wave:

Hello, I saw your article on Google Wave and I wanted to introduce you to our Google Wave extension 6rounds. Google Wave has chosen 6rounds to be one of their very first 6 applications and its only video chat extension for its launch. To learn more about 6rounds platform capabilities and the Google Wave extension, you can view our press release (http://uk.prweb.com/releases/6rounds/GoogleWave/prweb2952104.htm) and check out the special page for Google Wave on 6rounds (www.6rounds.com/googlewave). I’d love to give you a deeper look into our extension and am more than happy to answer any questions you may have and elaborate on the cooperation. I also wanted to let you know that we are doing a 6 day competition for users to win 6 Google Wave invites. You can read more about it on our blog post: Google Wave invites up for grabs! (http://blog.6rounds.com/google-wave-invites-grabs/) I know that many of your readers are dying to get Google Wave invites so I hope that you will share this legitimate opportunity with the. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Natasha

Well, there you have it, Studio readers. Go check out 6rounds and maybe you could be “Waving” by next week!
If you are interested in learning more about 6rounds, and the unique features it brings to video chat, check out the articles here and here. I will be checking 6rounds out myself (independently of Wave until I can get my own invite). If you have access to the Wave / 6rounds experience, I would surely love to get some feedback in the comments below.

Google Wave – For The Uninitiated

And that includes me. No, I do not have a Google Wave invitation yet. I have put in my application, pleaded with my friends, and even considered eBay (no, not really on that last one). I can’t give you the hands-on review from the legal mindset that you all are looking for. Not yet, anyway.

What I can do is provide you with some context if you are like me and have heard all about it, have gotten all excited to try it, but wonder what the heck it is and why should you even care.

Because I haven’t done the hands-on, I can only provide you with the  information I have culled from others among the scores and scads of on-line articles about it. Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft need only hiccup to cause a social media riot. Wave is no exception, and maybe is even more tantalizing in that it has been the subject of the months of hypeof tsunami proportion leading up to the limited edition 100,000 or so special, closed pre-beta invites that started trickling out last Thursday.

From Anthony Ha - Digital Beat

From Anthony Ha - Digital Beat

What IS it? At the core, Google Wave is a tool for online collaboration via real-time communication. According to the official Google word, the “communication” can be viewed as both a “wave” of conversation or a document. The participants in the wave or collaboration can utilize all sorts of media in the course of the conversation, offering rich, real-time sharing opportunity. Check out this screenshot of a wave here:

As you can see, waves look like threaded conversations, rather than the more traditional “back-and-forth” email model. Waves can constantly “crash” into your inbox, particularly if your box is open to all. Like a surfer confronted with too many possible rips, Google Wave certainly bears the potential to overwhelm the typical end user.

Another aspect that makes waves somewhat unique in the sharing world is their easy modification by participants, their ability to be played back at any time so that a new participant may be brought up to speed, and their fast transmission of information – you can see the other wave participants responses as they type them! The collaboration is real-time as well, due to some fancy “concurrency control technology” tools. Natural language features provide context and spelling correction. And, waves are embeddable, offering the ability to place the conversation and collaboration anywhere. Waves are amenable to the use of widgets for customizing and broadening the experience.

Without a doubt, Google Wave sounds like a might powerful tool, particularly in the enterprise arena. Imagine access to such a facile and speedy set of tools across departments or units – not only can the process be shared (like a wiki) but participants can get involved and see others’ involvement in the process right here and right now.

Sounds great, right? Well, not everyone is buying the hype. Carmi Levy at BetaNews has announced that he is sitting out the first “wave” of Wavers . Levi believes that Wave won’t be as big as Gmail, in large part due to the fact that “collaboration isn’t the holy grail of productivity.” Levi also thinks that most collaborators are not yet ready for the rocket-powered Wave: even the relatively simpler Google Docs has not broken among Levi’s peers and the emailing of Microsoft attachments remains the most popular method of securing feedback and a team result.

Then there is the question of security – while a Waver must have permission to participate, allowing anyone to edit source data tends to offend every traditional data security principle.

Robert Scoble also exhibits skepticism regarding the value of Wave as a true productivity tool. Scoble suggests that Wave represents multiple layers of unproductive tools: email, topped with chat, topped with social media, topped with features that lack an intuitive interface, et cetera. Scoble also criticizes Wave for its lack of integration with Google Docs and Spreadsheets and its tortoise-like pace. Hit the jump above for his fleshed-out discourse as to why he is not ravin’ ’bout the Wave.

Steven Hodson at the Inquisitr seems similarly unimpressed, mostly due to the difficulty he experienced ramping up with Google Wave and getting even rudimentary controls under control. He is holding his conclusions in check until he can spend more time with the tool and, hopefully, “get” the hype.

Steve Rubel opines that Google Wave, as it currently stands, is not a Twitter, Facebook or even email killer, in large part due to its complexity. Rubel believes it solves a problem that doesn’t exist, but is hopeful that Google Wave 2.0 addresses the concern and delivers on the promise.

Louis Gray’s take is not as critical, as he offers his personal experience with Google Wave here. He crafts a nice overview of the user experience, for those craving their own near-hands-on. But even he suggests that Google Wave will prove most useful for collaboration among small teams. And, reading between his lines, Gray appears to lament the fact that Google Wave is simply another place to check for conversations and information exchange, further burdening an already overburdened on-line network of email and social media outposts. It seems Wave may not be the ideal source for “crowd” conversations among large groups.

So, does my post sound a bit like the fox who couldn’t reach the proverbial grapes, proclaiming them to be sour as he quits the quest? Maybe so. But I am still hot to try Google Wave and allow my own first-hand experience to be my guide. I am guarded, however, after reading the somewhat critical reviews from some of tech’s elite. If these guys are having issues with Google Wave, how will the average tech-averse lawyer or business person manage its might? In any event, if a reader has an extra invite to pass along, I wouldn’t turn it down and might even be your best friend. 😉

Maybe you are one of the lucky few already enjoying Wave and currently making up your own mind about its utility or lack thereof. I have something for you too: a cheatsheet for Wave searching from Google itself.

Check out the lengthy Google developers preview video that follows. Or hit the simplistic video further below, linked in Scoble’s post.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How To Stay Connected In A Disconnected Work Place

Everyone wants to work from home. I know I fully appreciate the opportunity to do so. But working from home or working across the country from your co-workers and collaborators raises novel challenges. Humans are social animals with a strong need to connect, both professionally and socially. How can these connections be maintained, nurtured and expanded when the only other being sharing your office is the pet hamster?

Gina Trapani has some suggestions at the Harvard Business blog in her article entitled Master The Art of Working Remotely. The article does not focus on how to set up your office, how to get your work done or how to print and fax documents. Her focus is THE focus: how to maintain the human connections necessary for getting the job done. Trapani provides advice on how to make the most of the lines of communication available to the remote worker: email; messaging and text-based chat; on-line collaboration tools; and, voice and video chat. The idea is not simply to remind others of your existence, but to fully leverage the benefits of the various media and preserve the record in ways that are unavailable in the traditional Office Space set-up.

I would add a few additional tools to her list. Social media can bridge connections between co-workers and collaborators provided its use is targeted to a professional connection. Microblogging offers a means for one-way updates regarding status, results  and whereabouts, while social sites offer fora for communicating in more general, professional terms with other, similarly-situated workers.

It all boils down to keeping the “human” in the “human interaction” with gentle reminders to others of your existence and value to the task at hand.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]