I've been playing with Wave for most of the afternoon, and it's been fun, but still pretty frustrating. It's a lot like moving into a new building while their still installing light fixtures. There is dust everywhere, many things don't work right, but mostly it's just exciting to be the new building and wander around, not really using the space, but just enjoying the new architecture.
There's all the stuff I could say about how it's amazing, etc, but I won't, because if you care at all I'm sure you've read it already somewhere else, in the near thousand blog posts that have just recycled the commonly held knowledge we all already saw in the video. So I'm not going to write about that, but simply record a few of my observations about wandering around in this new community center, just opened to the public, at least those willing to step around the ladders and buckets and stuff.
Why? Well, maybe that will be a little apparent by the time I'm done. Also, the reason you might be reading this either in Wave, or on a good "old-fashioned" blog might also be clear. But enough with the preludes, and let's get to it.
Firstly, none of the things I want to use work. True, I am writing a wave right now, or a "blip", if this new lingo is to be trusted. And after about five different "beginner's guides" I finally figured out how to search the public waves, so yes, I can do that too. But the Twitter functionality won't authenticate, and while I had some limited success getting a wave to show up on both a Word Press site and Blogspot, I would hardly call it really functional. So I'm stuck with... waves. Lost at sea. Adrift in the malestrom. Metaphors ad nauseum.
But that's okay, because this is merely a preview of this game-changing, web-#.0-upgrading, temporal-continuity-destroying free web app. No need to get all broodingly philosophical on the first day, right?
Wrong! Look at these people! All of these villagers running around, pulling on the levers and setting up tents and shouting and waving their arms at their friends, trying to find the best space, and maybe even get a little something done before the porn bots and social media marketing gurus show up, as we all are sure that they will, as we cautiously peek out of the windows and at the horizon, keeping the children, old people and animals close, trying to build as many huts as possible before those vikings come over the hill.
Here are some interesting things that are happening:
- The Rush to Institute A Little Goddamn Law and Order: let some sysadmins in, and all of a sudden it's all wikipedia in here! Some wild west; more like a starving puritan colony where the few people left are desperately trying to use Roberts' Rules of Order to figure out how to get the corn to grow. We need a little less parlimentary procedure, and a little more Squanto! No, I'm kidding--I think it's awesome that there is already such a term as IBA (Initital Blip Author), and FIRM rules like reply-moderated tags, the seperation of document and discussion waves, and a thousand little convoluted discussions about etiquette. All of these are the sort of things that don't really need to be discussed, because just like the rest of the Internet, these rules will develop if it's going to make any sense at all. And yet they still are discussed, and politely discussed again. Because we're all educated people here, and we just love consensus! So groundbreaking, and yet so anti-punk-rock, it just tickles me pink. Google Wave really might be the next big thing, if people keep taking it so damn seriously!
- The Beginning of a New Era Starts...: When? I don't know, it seems like everyone's already been here for ever. All the good public waves have over a hundred comments, though this will probably end up being nothing as soon as they really open the floodgates. Maybe it's just that I can't get the Playback function to work, but it seems like Google Wave is going to have the same problem all new provinces and colonies have--everyone is too busy trying to survive to take down any history. Not that it's crucial to humanity to document these first few waves of the coming info-nami. Hell, the Internet isn't really exciting enough to keep a record. It's too big, too watered down, and too lumbersome to track each individual sweat gland of the beast, spitting moisture off into the tiny mossy filaments it is always trampling under foot. And yet, right now it seems like Wave is a community, or at least in some sense. The minute Wave becomes just another part of the Internet, that community will be lost. Anyone know where to read about the beginnings of Twitter? Something about some concert in Texas? Whatever, I'm just glad I started following Britney before she hit the million mark. But shouldn't somebody be writing something down? Who wants to be secretary? Nobody? Okay, cool. I mean, I'm not going to do it either. Just sayin'. This will probably seem pretty weird a year from now. But then again, time always does.
And Other Great Prophecy: who knows what? Who knows what will be in the pipeline tomorrow? Who knows when stuff will really start to work? Maybe tonight. Maybe a week from now. Maybe when they finally release that hot gadget like they talked about and it works great and everybody loves it. Maybe not for a year, until the American Workers' Revolution is Wave-Cast, and the face of politics (and don't forget that pain in the ass, media) is changed beyond all of our wildest dreams. What? Don't worry about it. It's prophecy! We all know how awesome technology is, and now it is so awesome that we can all tell the future. Time has folded in half; time is a wave; periodization has reduced its wavelength to the infinitesimal scale of instantaneousness, and we are all a giant numeral one in the center of a sudoku grid with only one box. Shit is crazy, and you are/will be/have been there. So wave your hands like you just don't care. Because it's a new mediapocalypse every day, and if you don't sign in, you might just not even notice and instead do something else.
So until then, and for as long as it lasts, I'll send you my dispatches from the forefront of the bottom of the wave. You might not be able to read them, because they'll get lost in the cloud, or I'll forget to make it a public wave, or maybe you don't have an invite yet so all you see is a YouTube video rather than my words. But what is this if not a sign of the times, and proof of the cutting edge? Cultural incompatibility is the sign of big changes. Far be it from me to try and dumb down history for us. That's, like, some professor's job.
If you like this writing, or other stuff I've written, drop me a line, and the next time I clog the public wave feed, I'll make sure to add you. I know, this is kind of bootleg, but hey, this is Google Wave, baby!
Predictions for 2012
5 years ago