Tuesday, 9 June 2009

It's the conversation, stupid

The thing l like most about Google Wave (at least from the YouTube presentation) is about how everything is geared around the content. Technologies and even concepts that we take for granted as essential, distinct entities in their own right such as email, blog posts, word processing software - even the document itself- all start to seem strangely artificial and inconsequential: what matters is the content and, most importantly of all, the conversation that it represents. It is this conversation or, to be more accurate, these multiple and ongoing conversations that are central to the Wave philosophy with everything else built to enable, support and manage them.

Now from the records manger’s perspective this might all sound like a bit of a nightmare: seamless, perpetual conversations with everyone free (by default) to edit everything. Where is the record? Heck, what is the record? But just as some of the concepts underpinning Wave require us to rethink most of what we take for granted about information creation so too it will its management.

Funnily enough this is similar to a point I made yesterday during a Podcast discussion with James Lappin, Elizabeth Lomas and Stephen Dale (I’ll provide a link when it’s up) which was made before I had any real knowledge of what Wave was about. That is that records management in the future will not be about managing individual objects all with finite and predictable lifespans but about capturing the numerous links between them as part of an ongoing thread if, when and how they are used.

It’s about the context. It’s about the conversation.

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