Back to the roots. If email is the past, is Google Wave the future?


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Talk, UXCampLondon 2009.
I talked about how digital technology enables secondary orality - a more natural way of communicating. I applied these ideas to Google Wave and discussed its potential to become the collaboration tool for the tribe of digital natives.

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  • Parallels between tribal communities and online social networks - resurgence of ancient patterns of oral communication.
  • secondary orality is a type of interpersonal communication that is neither classically oral nor literate, and has been made possible entirely through modern communication technologies. This communication is now instantaneous, so despite its use of the written word, it allows for transactions to be nearly as cyclical as orality; thoughts and ideas are repeated and revisited several times, instead of simply being stated once, as in literacy.
  • email still useful for 1-2-1 communication, sending important documents, etc - but current email not for collaboration or anything that‘s a CONVERSATION
  • Letters: tangible quality, historical documents. emails not saved forever, digital =hard to find/discover no need to write long letters about my life, as you are aware Emails that are used like letters are writing. Not a true conversation.
  • Examples to show how technology is evolving to support secondary orality - threads and IM encourage usage of a style closer to oral communication
  • We know what we are up to, so when we meet we talk about what matters.
  • need written, accessible comm to create universal knowledge. spoken conversations turned into knowledge by storytelling. --> blogs, open discussions are the conversations we can refer to in the future. Writing about these conversations will get better, more important!!
  • What‘s great about Wave: I think it is the next step. Supports secondary orality by instant communication, thread. Moreover, it‘s a collaboration tool - conversations around objects. Strength, what orality can‘t do: you can add people later, fill them in, they can playback the communication. Waves can live on the web - so open for participation. Accessible knowledge: well, tagging is a step forward, Waves can live on the Web + adds SN feel by contact profiles, photos Cons: it‘s all a bit much at the moment, early stage, not that easy to find Robots to include. Con that it lives in the browser
  • Back to the roots. If email is the past, is Google Wave the future?

    1. 1. UXCampLondon #1 Johanna Kollmann - @johannakoll Back to the roots. If email is the past, is Google Wave the future?
    2. 2. „ Orality is the base of all human experience.“ Lance Strate
    3. 3. „ Oral communication unites people in groups.“ Walter J. Ong
    4. 4. “ Orality is participatory, interactive, communal and focused on the present. The Web is all of these things.” Irwin Chen
    5. 5. In a tribe, people are close to each other. They know what others do and who they interact with.
    6. 6. Digital communication tools are developing into communication enablers: back to the roots.
    7. 7. Secondary orality: - instant communication, despite its use of the written word. - ideas are shared and repeated.
    8. 8. Die, email, die. Traditional email inhibits our natural way of communication.
    9. 9. Personal emails vs. letters
    10. 10. Evolution: interfaces of communications:
    11. 12. So what about the art of writing and the need to create universal knowledge ?
    12. 13. Now, the Wave. Is it the next step towards secondary orality? Will it turn business email into a collaboration tool? Will it turn conversations into accessible knowledge?
    13. 14.
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