I wrote the post below on July 2nd 2009. It sat in my Evernote for just under 2 years now, but with Google Plus, Google just did so much of what I was talking about that I guess I should share it now. The rough draft that I wrote is below. I’ve put in how Google plus fulfills the pieces below that.
//Stuff I wrote in 2009:
Coming up with the perfect Communication system:
These are all the avenues I use to communicate with others:
- In person
- Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Live Messenger (video)
- Facebook Chat
- Facebook messages
- Facebook Wall
- SMS (text messages)
How can we classify these though?
-Short form: SMS, Twitter, Facebook Wall
Medium form: Email, chat, blog, blog comments
-Long form: Email, Chat applications, Phone, Blog
-Face-to-face: In Person, Video Chat
-Voice: Phone, Skype
-Text: Email, Blog, Chat, Twitter, Facebook Wall
-Urgent: SMS, Phone, Chat applications
-Important, but not urgent: Email, Facebook Messages, direct twitter rmessages, in person
-Neither urgent, nor important: blog, twitter, facebook wall.
-myself: delicious, notes, google tasks, word documents, reminders
-small audience: SMS, Email, Chat, Twitter direct message, phone in person,
-medium audience: Facebook wall, Twitter
-large audience: Blog
-Replies within short time frames
These are my rules for which apps to use, rules that I kind of instinctively obey because they are the most convenient. They are rules that I break all the time. They probably have differences and similarities to your rules. Why is that? Each of the services that we use has different social connotations to us. I might believe a Facebook message is for important things, but you might think it is just for fluff and never check it.
How to fix it?
Here is my proposal for the workflow of my dream communication device:
- Choose who you want to communicate with, person, group, all your friends, open internet (Which is what Facebook’s privacy changes have just done)
- Choose the urgency (this should probably be more granular than what I just set up).
- Choose the fidelity that you require (text, voice or video).
- Choose how synchronous you want it to be.
- Specify how long you want the message to be (for text this step could be automatic, just letting you know when you start to cross boundaries).
- From the receiving side, you specify how you want messages to come to you from certain people.
Now, the critical part of this system is that the receiver gets to define how they are notified about your intent to communicate. These can be rules based on your location, your status, the time, what your calendar says, who is trying to contact you. even who you are with. So for instance, all urgent messages from your close contacts are pushed to your phone which beeps or vibrates. If it is not urgent, it is sent to your desktop, where a popup can appear every hour detailing how many new non-urgent messages are waiting (this stops the smartphone syndrome of constantly checking email, facebook etc jsut to see if something important has come up).
//End of stuff I wrote in 2009.
Now for how Google Plus implements so much of this:
Circles is 95% of the way there. Between Circles, individual people, people with the link, public, they’ve really made that part super easy.
Not implemented by Google Plus… here’s hoping they do.
Choose how synchronous you want it to be.
The difference between the chat and the sharing pieces.
Choose the fidelity that you require (text, voice or video)
All in Google Plus.
Specify how long you want the message to be:
Google Plus just does it automatically. I’m not sure if this one is relevant anymore.
From the receiving side, you specify how you want messages to come to you from certain people:
Google has at least made a start on it
The big thing is that Google Plus does this all in one space. No message box, chat box and email inbox, no separate places to rebuild your community again and again, just all in one application.
I think that’s kind of awesome.