When I first started blogging in 2006 or so, I loved the idea of being able to have conversations with people all over the world, many of whom I didn’t even know existed. It’s served me really well in that respect, I’ve met a ton of people and developed my most important online social network. I have several relationships in the real world that developed because of blogs.
Then Twitter came along, and was all real-timey and stuff. It’s fun. It feels like a cocktail party. I can blurt out things that I think would make funny fortune cookies and there’s an audience for that I guess. But in terms of content it was a real lightweight compared to blogs, the medium is just too constraining. At its core Twitter is a 140-character message bus, and there are lots of things lacking there for heavy-duty collaboration to happen.
Next came Facebook, which allowed me to find a lot of people but not necessarily the ones I wanted to have technical conversations with. It’s also completely ungeared towards anything longer than a sentence or two, the commenting system resembles a car with just an engine and a frame and a steering wheel. Also not suited to hard-core collaboration of any kind.
Over time the collaboration model on blogs got better with the introduction of commenting systems like Disqus (although I still don’t like the fact that I rely on them 100% to safeguard those comments). But it never really changed much, we always had blogs and RSS to distribute and comment on meatier content.
But then, this year, came Wave. And I fell head over heels in love with it.
It’s rough, sure, but even at this point it’s a much, MUCH more exciting medium than a blog, or even Twitter. The potential for new kinds of interactions feel limitless at this point–integration with applications, robots, all kinds of cool new things to explore.
But potential alone isn’t enough to make me move, it’s really the dynamic of the conversation that has won my heart.
To me it feels like the difference between writing a magazine article and starting a conversation. Instead of pontificating on what I think about something, I can just seed a conversation by saying “Hey, what if?” or “Hey, what about?” The interaction in a Wave is so much more organic and spontaneous, and it feels more genuine. I can seed a Wave with an idea and other people can take it and run with it, taking it on tangents that I never even talked about; I can just watch in real-time. I’ve had several collaboration sessions spontaneously break out just based on who’s reading a wave at the same time. That’s new and awesome.
Waves are also different than blog posts in that they continually evolve. There is no “publishing a post” anymore, because it’s never really done. Instead of 5 different posts with subtle twists on a new idea, the original idea can take off in a new direction and stay in the same conversation. I can see Waves staying relevant and vibrant for years once the UI can accommodate that.
Lastly, it just feels right. When I go to jot down a thought now I continually find myself saying to myself that this would be a better fit in a Wave than a blog. So into a Wave it goes. The blog is being bled to death.
So anyway, long story short, I’m going to be Waving much more than blogging from at least a while in order to fully explore this medium. I’ll probably continue to post the end result of a Wave into the blog, but only after I’ve posted stuff to a Wave and given it a chance to percolate for a while, and maybe edit the original post first to incorporate Wave discussion. My blog posts will now be written by “Jason Kolb and the Google Wave community”
The only problem with that at the moment is that Wave is more of a I-will-opt-you-in than an opt-in model right now and I don’t want to spam my entire contact list with Waves they’re not interested in. So the solution is: A Google Group.
Right now the only way to do an opt-in Wave group is to create a Google Group and then include that Group in the Wave. So that’s what I’ve done, and if you want to be included in my “Wave Distribution List” then you’ll need to opt-in to the Google Group.
I like the fact that I can control distribution too, even make it invite-only at some point possibly. Oh yeah, I’ve also opted in a few people I know personally so if they don’t like it I’ll buy them a beer or something. Sorry guys
So that’s it then: I’m dumping my blog in one respect, which is that I won’t be posting here first anymore, or even often. The only time I’ll post to the blog is when the community creates a Wave that is just too good not to preserve in a more static way.
Sure there’s a lot of infrastructure such as tools and tricks missing that blogs and tweets have built up over the years that’s missing right now. But they’re corner cases, things that can–and will–be added over time. Right now it’s still more powerful than any other medium out there.
I feel like it’s something I should be using daily in order to stay on the bleeding edge of it and what it’s capable of. And then, as the platform grows I can grow along with it, and hopefully push it a little. I still stand by what I said a few months back: Google Wave is a game-changer. While it might not be a perfect replacement for blogging yet, I’m willing to struggle thru it until it works, because it’s the tool I want to use. I’m a programmer to boot, so I can always hack stuff when it’s all open-sourced eventually.
My gut says that blogs will die as a result of Waves. Well, not die, but change pretty dramatically. Blogs as we know them today won’t exist, but it will be much easier to do what I’m trying to do right now and it might look very similar to a blog today in some cases. Will be interesting to find out, anyway!
Oh, and if anyone else does this please let me know, I’d love to subscribe and see how it works out for you. The not-so-technical details about how this works are on the Group page if you’re curious.
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