Plenipotentiary of Public Relations

Thank you very much for downloading the second podcast. How am I doing? Very well thank you. Before continuing any further with this podcast a little bit of housekeeping.

Housekeeping

This podcast can now be found on the iTunes Store. Simply search for “Musings of a Public Relations Student” or click the text link I have provided on the written article for this podcast.

For those of you who are regular visitors to my blog you may have noticed that the shrink and expand options on all the blog articles have been disabled. Unfortunately this has resulted the home page of my blog to be stretched down your monitor by thousands of words. This bug will be fixed once Ajaxed WordPress, the plugin I use for the shrink and expand feature, has become compatible with the latest version of WordPress which I currently run.

On with the substance of this podcast.

Ambassador of business

In the last podcast I mentioned that I had been a Student Ambassador for one of my old colleges. The title “Student Ambassador” sounds far grander than the job role actually is. The basics of the job is to promote the university where you study at along with the course you are taking. Now, I am aware that Public Relations students and practitioners visit this blog. This podcast might be more interesting for those of you who actually work within the PR industry rather than a student. In fact, if you are a prospective student thinking about studying any subject at all, you should find this podcast useful as one student’s perspective with how university has been as a whole. Obviously, I can only give you one side of the story as I only study at the University of Gloucestershire and purely focus on Media, Journalism, Marketing and, of course, Public Relations.

Part of the job of being a Student Ambassador is to not only show prospective students around my university but to also visit different schools. I don’t view this as a role of propaganda. If there is one value I have held through life it is that people are free to make their own decisions, no matter how bad they might be. We are all on our own sort of journeys through life. This journey is social, emotional, academic – anything but plutonic. We adapt ourselves as we go to university, because lets face it, everything changes. You are in a different location, with new people, studying a new course, most of us have to cook for ourselves and understand how to live with ourselves. Anybody who says that going to university is an easy transition is wrong. I imagine that even if you come from a tough background university will still be a change. It is important to realise though that this change is a good thing. Even if university does not work out well for you, you will learn a lot from your experience. Either a little bit more about the world but more likely, to learn to a greater depth what you are like as a person.

Several months ago I received an email from my college inviting me to an ambassador’s day. Anything but political, they were asking for university students to speak with sixth form students about what life is like after they had finished their A level studies. My college was split between two schools; Richard Challoner and Holy Cross. As both names suggests they are Catholic schools, but despite being an Atheist myself, they offered a fantastic education. After all, I am at the University which I first applied for.

The set up of this ambassador’s day was rather simple. Each university student was placed in a room concerning their subject area. For this reason I was placed in the, not very exciting title, ‘Business Room’. Part of me felt that Public Relations was better destined for the media rooms where the turnout would inevitably be far greater that those who visited the ‘Business Room’. The merit of the room I was placed in was that ‘Public Relations’ was put as the title on the door. Must have been a little annoying for those uni students who were with me in the room doing other business related courses! After all, I was the only student ambassador, out of 5 others, who was actually studying Public Relations as a degree.

The students who came into our room to chat about university were hugely mixed. There is this idea that those who mostly study business studies are foreign students. As my college is based in New Malden/Kingston there is a very high Korean population but surprisingly for me, the prospective student mix was, well, very mixed. All of the students seemed very bright and very interested in what university was all about. Before I stepped into the room I had made a promise to myself that I would be as open about my experiences as possible… Now, instead of putting you readers/listeners through the pains of each individual Question and Answer asked to me on the day I thought I would write down an honest account of my experiences. It is very likely that I will unable to ever be Prime Minister after this account. So I hope you enjoy it and don’t judge me too much at the end.

First fucking fortnight

So the honesty begins, when I first visited the University of Gloucestershire I thought it looked like a scrap yard. I was right. The University is made up of four different campuses, I am based at Pittville campus, the arty campus. Which makes me hugely jealous since I am not arty myself and so being around students all day who have the talent to draw from imagination or to copy an image precisely seems like witchcraft to me. It isn’t even like there are no arty people in my family. My granddad ran his own printing company for years, could tell a hundred different colour mixes and can copy perfectly. The gene pool must not have been in my favour! But anyway, the campus I am based on is a polystyrene campus. I used to joke about our halls being constructed out of polystyrene and cardboard. Until the day I mentioned the joke to my taxi driver in Cheltenham and he responded, “Oh yes, controversial build”. I must be honest, that did take me by surprise. There is no doubt that where Pittville lacks for its archtecutre, it pays back in community. I know it sounds cheesy and fan boyish. I can just hear the screams of “Pittville till I die!” now. It is true though. Out of all the campuses at the university Pittville has the warmer community. Which is clearly evident in the student union bar.

None of this though was apparent to me when I first began at the university. I stepped out the car trying to hide my shakes from the super star help team, collected my keys and headed to my new room with my parents. Stepping into that small room was fairly terrifying. I knew that my university life had begun and this room would be my hide out from now on. It really was a hide out in a strange way. I am not the sort of person who enjoys clubbing or hard drinking. I may drink fairly consistently during the week but I never usually drink vast quantities in one evening. Obviously university was a change in this respect.

I won’t deny it though. The first evening was good. I head down to a BBQ which the uni had planned for the freshers with my new floor mates and went around searching for people who were on my course. I met a couple but quickly went with the crowd to a whole host of different halls on campus. Until I got bored and decided to head back to my own hall, Spencer. Where, by chance, a drinking game was going on, which I didn’t take part in but I did slowly learn who everybody was through listening. That evening one girl revealed that she had anal sex in the past and enjoyed it. After that every time I saw the girl I couldn’t help but think “she has had anal sex”. A word of advice, don’t be too open straight away, as whatever dirty fact you reveal, you will be remembered by. For those of you who are listening rather than reading this article I have included a picture of a very tired/sad me which was taken that evening.

Tiredme

Getting to know people, for me, does take a while though. Although I may come across as a confident person I do find it difficult to connect with people. Just a personal problem of mine really. The first fortnight of university went very slowly and it was very lonely. Most people seemed to go out to a club every night, which I would be far too frightened to attend, which meant I hardly left my room. It was here that one of my vices became a virtue, I am a smoker. Before university I was mostly a smoker of cigars but it became clear early on that cigarettes were more, shall we say normal to smoke regularly. I switched over from the Hamlets to the Marlboros and through smoking outside the halls occasionally I met new people. For such a bad habit smoking helped me meet some really great people at university. Smoking also gave me an excuse to stand outside to escape the hormonal, sweaty, drunk, noisy clubs for a few minutes. It may have been a drunk conversation outside full of tin pot philosophies, empty ambitious plans and meaningless praise to absolute strangers. Much better than the looming dance floor and sticky floor within.

That first fortnight at university was the worst though. Although I did have a smile on during the day, inside I was feeling hopelessly depressed. For this reason everything was an act to a certain extent. My sleeping patterns were terrible – going to bed at 3am and waking up at 7:30am. At which time I would leave my hall, walk to a random road nearby and phone my parents. Many of the times I spoke with my parents on the phone I was holding back tears. I am still unsure about how much of this depressed mood was purely caused by university. Around the end of the first fortnight I was sitting in my room and that crazy feeling descended upon me. It happens sometimes. I was just sitting by my computer and realised that I could leave the university.

Without any hesitation I picked up my small bag, emptied the contents of it on my floor (which mostly consisted of pens and paper), packed a toothbrush and left the university. In the past I remember having looked at a map of Cheltenham, from which I remembered the patterns of the roads leading to the train station. At this stage I had only been at the University of Gloucestershire for just over 2 weeks. I found it difficult walking into town, let alone trying to find the train station. It took about an hour to walk to the train station with nothing but a mental image. I walked down the wrong road once but somehow I made it. Now, to get a perspective with how I felt – the only thought running through my head was to see London again. I wanted to arrive in London whist it was dark so that I could see the lights of the Thames and the millennium wheel. No doubt about it, I was being seduced by the picture of London in my head.

The train cost me £50 which I spent without hesitation. I got onto that train with no suitcase or packed clothes. Everyone travelling to London was required to switch lines at Bristol station. I got off at Bristol, and suddenly my brain kicked started into life again. The image of London was thrown aside; pictures and thoughts of before university filled my mind and I cried again. I tried phoning both my parents and managed to get through to my Dad.

I felt bad for worrying my family. I think my Grandparents were the ones who were most concerned. I had to spend another £10 travelling back to Cheltenham and helpzone advisers (the delightful people who look after the students, who I think run the most important part of the university, a student’s wellbeing) met up with me. They were very kind, as they always are, and helped me make my university transition a little smoother. Occasionally I was meet one of them whilst walking to a lecture and they would make sure everything was still alright with me.

At the time I told both my parents that if I still hated university at the end of that month then I would leave. I didn’t have to leave in the end. I made some of the strongest friendships I had ever experienced in the following few months. That transition, for me, was painful. What I only can describe as intense loneliness. It is true that it is much easier to focus on the bad. *Phew* But anyway, on with the happier part of this podcast.

Questions and Answers

There are just so many questions about continuing into further education. Obviously I can only offer the university side of the spectrum. We have the treacherous arena of finances, we have over 10,000 courses on offer which can each be studied at 100 different universities, where should we study and what will be the result of our studies in the future. Obviously prospective students will have a lot of questions to ask. I have listed some of my points in paragraphs:

1. To begin with the dry question of finances. Do not worry about them. Well, not exactly, make sure that you don’t spend over the budget you have set for your first year. The fact of the matter is that some point in life you will need a loan. The largest of which will probably be for your mortgage which could possibly climb to hundreds of thousands. I am expecting to leave university with a loan of around £20,000 but the loans are apparently very easy to pay off. Otherwise you would be better of killing your parents and moving country.

2. Whatever you do live away from home. Don’t worry about the costs, living away from home is a good experience. If you live at home and go to university then you are not having the full experience. Fair enough, living on campus might be expensive but you are not just buying a small room, you are buying into an experience. The change you will see in yourself after having lived away for a few months would possibly stagger you. With regards to having catering done for you. Are you really that lazy? Cooking is a life skill. Living away should force this need to cook upon you. Don’t be that lazy sort of person that allows somebody else to cook all their food for you.

3. Get stuck into everything at university. Join the societies which interest you and grab every opportunity which is thrown at you. At no other time in your life will you have the chance to possibly write for a newspaper, join a radio station, run event management etc. The list of chances university provides for every student is amazing and it would be a blasphemy against the good nature of university to turn anything down.

4. Choose a course that you think sounds interesting, not a course which you ought to do. I originally made this mistake when I first applied for Computer Science courses. People had told me I was good at computing therefore I should follow this passion. Last minute decisions with my UCAS application found me applying for Public Relations. Do think about where a course could end you up. The lkilihood getting a job within business just based off a theology degree is almost 0%. You would need some really good work experience to back any jobs you apply in the future.

Which leads us onto our next point.

5. Gain work experience! There is no point receiving a degree without any experience with the industry you want to get into. It isn’t too difficult to find work experience. Most companies seem very happy for students to enter their businesses and share some of the latest news and approaches which you have learnt about the industry.

6. Build up that list of contacts. You will be surprised how easy it is to find contacts in the world. At the start of my first year I met Stephen Fry and got contact information with a lady who worked in publishing who was standing in the queue.

Finally, point,

7. Work on that balance between social and work time. Some people don’t understand the balance and fail university as a result, or decide to drop out. I think we have had at least four different people on my own course leave because they spent far too much time drinking during the week, missing lectures and falling dangerously behind workloads.

Apparently we are all meant to meet the person we will marry in the future at University. Quite a terrifying thought but just shows how much university could influence your life.

And without any sense of bias do continue into some form of education after sixth form. With the problems of the job market at the moment further education is the best place to be. Of course, you could always study Public Relations at the University of Gloucestershire.

Happy holidays

I am afraid that is all we have time for this week and now I am off on holiday. I hope you have enjoyed this brutally honest blog/podcast. As always, thank you for listening/reading and feel free to join in with me on Twitter at twitter.com/michaelwhite1.

Until next time, goodbye.     

Generation Why?

This article marks the beginning of a new series of podcasts giving you the option to listen rather than read from the glare of your monitor. Depending on the format of the podcasts the majority of recordings will also be avaliable in standard text form. Podcasts can either be streamed or downloaded from this website. Before not too long podcasts will also be avaliable through the iTunes store.


Before I begin I want to thank you for downloading and listening to this first podcast. Not too sure how the audio will sound as I have no official recording gear as such. Most microphones seem to give me some sort of artificial lisp. Unless, of course, I do have a lisp… Anyway, I hope everything sounds bearable. I have tried the art of podcasting in the past and unfortunately I never really felt it to catch on. This time though, I will make an effort. I know from my own experience that constantly reading all the time can become quite tedious and so I hope listening provides a breath of fresh air into my tiny corner of the interweb.

I’m not too sure about the frequency of podcasts which will bless this site currently or how this new form of media will aid in my PR related articles. I’m sure time will tell though. Before I discourse any further into this microphone I must first detail my sort of terms and conditions… I do not pretend to know everything. Starting this blog was a leap of faith as I am still a student and so I gradually learn more as I walk down the path towards achieving my degree. If learning works as planned then I should be able to listen and read these articles in a years’ time and feel embarrassed that I could hold such a pile of drivel as an opinion in the first place. Learning has the vice to which no man can ever say “I am sure”. So perhaps I could be better described as an agnostic evangelist of the PR realm. Who knows? I certainly don’t. How could I have the audacity, the chutzpah to loquaciously say that I am right? Of course I don’t. Anything on this blog and in these podcasts is the sole product of my own reasoning and knowledge. Jeremy Vine recently revealed how the listeners provide much of the content for his radio programmes. I implore you to do the same, write down your opinion by commenting on any of my articles or write a rebuke on your own website/blog. Anything which aids learning would be greatly appreciated. So without further ado it is time to add my opinion into the academic mix.

A little autobiography

But before continuing I thought I would do a little summary of myself. Oh, how dreary! Can’t you talk about anything else? Well, yes but I wouldn’t want any of you under the impression that I actually know what I’m talking about when it comes to public relations and the media. I am a first year PR student. I have actually finished my first year now and so technically I could be regarded as a second year student who hasn’t yet done the readings! Not that all students to the necessary readings each week anyway. I chose to study PR at the University of Gloucestershire. A University which I believed and still believe to be one of the best universities for teaching pr in the country. Perhaps a bold claim but I think “what the best uni is” is mostly to do with personal preference. I looked around at least eight different universities before making my final choice and the friendly, small class sizes of Gloucestershire won my interest very early on.

Whilst studying for my A levels and going through the horrible labyrinth which is the apply process for uni I had to make some very big decisions about my future. Every student, has to make these decisions. Should I go to university? Learn a trade? Or just trot out into the world of work. Anybody who chooses the latter option in the current economic meltdown of the world would be very unwise. Originally I had been looking at a variety of computer science courses. Computers and other forms of technology have always been a passion of mine and so it seemed sensible to follow this passion. At the same time though a large part of me would think far into the future and wonder what my perfect job would be. I have no objections with stand alone programming or server side scripting. Most of my younger teenage years were spent starting new software or internet projects. I just didn’t want to spend my later years sitting behind a desk as a programmer. I don’t want to eat fast food all day long, grow a large belly and lose almost all hope of finding a girlfriend, let alone a wife! Okay, I did just build a rather stereotypical view but I hope you understand what I mean. I wanted a job in the future which would be a mix of inside and outside. Something to compliment my own character which waves between seclusion and attention.

After having attended a university fair one day (for those who haven’t been to a university fare they are amazing places. Lots of free gifts, colourful people and cheesy advertising) I built up a collection of at least 12 different university prospectuses for undergraduate students. Public Relations was known about very early on but never in my mind seriously considered. The title ‘Public Relations’ just didn’t seem that tasty or chocolately, rather bland in many ways. This was the first reason which put me off taking pr as a course before I even had read the content. It was when I attended a computer science talk at Lincoln university that by chance I was edged closer to public relations.

We had an hour before lunch and by chance a journalism talk fitted well with our timings, I decided to attend the presentation and listen with an open mind. The lecturer was a brilliant witty man who wore tatty jeans, un-ironed white shirt and had who’s facial skin seemed to suggest a life harder than I have ever had to bare. The talk was very interesting and reinforced the passion to write inside me. A passion which has been so ingrained through my life that sometimes I forget it is even there. When we came to questions and answers a boy at the back asked the question:

“Why should I study journalism?”

Quite a cheeky question really but actually perfectly valid. Instead of the lecturer replying back in some sort of sarcastic tone who was very sincere and said:

“Most people live their life in a box. They drive to work in a box, they work behind a desk in a box, they drive home to their box and spend their evenings watching the box. The course I am offering you is outside of this box.”

I realised after this that, for me, computer science was too concerned with that box. I might still spend my life around the box but I certainly wasn’t going to waste time repairing the box of my computer. I had considered journalism as a degree but public relations seemed better. Of course, some journalists move to public relations in later life. Perhaps in my later life I will move to journalism. Who knows? What I do know is that I need to get out of that box. That is why I chose Public Relations.

Generation why?

So on with the real substance of this podcast and it begins with a series of questions. Why, Oh why, Oh why? What a waste of time. You could have tidied your bedroom, done the washing up, finished your homework, oh anything! Anything would have been far more productive than just sitting on the internet all the time.

I’m a proud member of generation ‘Oh why?!’ Generally generation y are those who were born late 1980s – early 1990s. In the respect which I will be looking at generation y though will be with regards to the internet. Although I am technically a different generation to those who had children in the late 1990s we all have one thing in common. To us technology and the internet is a mother language. People born before computers were commonly found in the home learnt technology as a second language. This can be easily seen in my grandparents, a 3rd generation down, who are far more competent with mending a bike than I am but struggle to send an email. Of course, we all have different abilities of learning, both my parents can use computers well. There is a lack of passion or buzz missing though. A certain bond missing. Such as how my age find using the Apple iTunes store a simple task, Microsoft Office suite speaks for itself and navigating through an Operating System is learnt through messing about. The vast majority of older people need the instruction.

This is far from an ageist remark and I have no intention to cause offence. It is just true. The generation which grew up with the internet, my generation, are generally far more competent with technology. No other generation had the wide opportunity to learn whilst a toddler how to use computers or programme as a teenager. Bill Gates had to visit a local business to develop the art of programming. I just had to walk down some stairs in a small house, next to Nonsuch Park in Cheam.

It was a good 6 months after having started programming that I started first enquiring into owning my own website. I had no idea what I wanted the website to be based around. At the time I was a fairly devout Christian so I had considered constructing a Christian gaming website. How dire… The only other option was to develop a website about myself. This must have been early 2002, April I believe and I’ll never forget what my friends Dad told me.

“Why would anybody want to visit a website all about you? Personal websites have no purpose. They simply do not work.”

Hehe, how wrong he was. In the following two years social networking accelerated, blogs started to appear over the internet. Blogs have been around since the late 90s but Google may have been the catalyst when they purchased Blogger in 2003. It is difficult to say where they all spawned from, part of me believes blogs are the evolutionary offspring of bulletin boards and forums. Not exactly a love child but more an evolutionary cousin, much like chimpanzees are to humans.

But anyway, before I delve any further into this podcast I must give my thanks to Phil Hicks, who works at Montpellier Marketing Communications in Cheltenham, for providing the seed of thought for rest of this recording.

Social media rumour

Even as a member of generation Y, everyone, across all generations, wonders what the future of the internet will be. In the late 1980s many believed that the highstreet would be dead by the time we had the millennium. This prediction has truthfully been proven false. Shops have closed down, for a variety of reasons, but the high street still lives on and I’m sure will flourish once again. The point is this, whilst it is not possible to see into the future it is possible to predict where the patterns of the internet may lead.

It is not impossible by any degree to guess where communication on the internet will result. You may have seen a couple of weeks ago that I wrote an article on my blog about Google Wave. What I believe will possibly be the successor of Facebook as the social network has the ability to merge with other social networking mediums, this includes Twitter. Although, of course, Twitter isn’t really a social networking tool, which might owe to its success. On any other social networking website you can agree a friendship with an individual but then have constant mutual interaction with them. Twitter gives users the choice to interact, you don’t have to follow somebody just because they have followed you. Some believe it is courteous to follow back, I agree with this to a certain extent I but never follow everyone back. Some accounts really are a bit questionable…

The real question which we have to ask about social media is what difference it is making to the world. From a wider point of view we have globalisation, the concept of a ‘global village’  coined by Marshall McLuhan. From a media point of view we have a new form of communication offered by the social networking boom. Earlier today I visited one of my old colleges, Holy Cross, and was mainly inundated by questions asking what Public Relations is. The best way I found to describe it was partly through the theory of new media which is best compared against advertising. Whilst advertising could be described as parasitical, PR is far more focused, at least well done PR.

An article I wrote last month in response to a man called Loic Le Meur tackled this question of advertising and public relations. It is not uncommon to get the two confused as they are both essentially promotion and awareness tools. Like all tools though, they age and they change. It is best to view advertising as a vast sheet covering the necessary parts of your audience whilst PR accurately focuses on the necessary individuals in an way which could be best described as perhaps economical. PR does not waste promotion and awareness on the wrong people and with regards to digital PR usually judges success from an audiences response.

I am actually fortunate enough to be working for several companies in my summer break which is all about using ePR (Electronic Public Relations). From this I have learnt just how important it is to promote a product effectively and how Public Relations provides the necessary tools. A part of me believes PR is a free thought alternative to promote. The best campaigns have originality such as the Torches of Freedom campaign overlooked by Edward Bernays.

From this perspective online Public Relations does have a limit. ePR has the unfortunate problem of being bound in by the social construct it has to work within. However, this might be a topic best suited for another podcast episode sometime.

Until next time…

So here marketh the end of the podcast. I hope it didn’t sound too much like a lesson! Despite the serious tones I am just a student and this blog is my playground. Feel free to follow my updates on twitter at http://twitter.com/michaelwhite1. The account Michael White seems to be taken by the Guardian political correspondent. Although I do almost have his amount of followers! Keep watching out for new podcast episodes, the podcasts should be available on iTunes shortly.

Until next time, thank you for listening and goodbye.

Google Wave

Google Wave logo

I have considered writing this blog post for the past couple of days but sanity stopped me. Unfortunately, I can no longer contain my excitement. Google Wave is going to be awesome! However, this article is merely a product of speculation. Currently Google Wave is only open to a small number of developers but it is expected to be released later this year.

Why on Earth is Google Wave relevant for this PR Blog? Quite simply, after Google had developed Google Maps they sat back and then got ambitious. Imagine the scene, many geeks (but geniuses) sat in a room. One of these geeks makes an observation, “Email is a bit old, isn’t it?” Perhaps a small silence and then an agreement “Lets sort this problem out” and so Google Wave was born. The possible future of internet communication.

Google Wave is an attempt to replace the email and quite rightly so. Email has been around since the early 1980s and the internet has changed so much since then. Incidentally this has caused communication technology to change as well. The introduction of the 21st Century saw an explosion in social networking. Users were easily able to communicate with each other, not just through text but through the mediums of image and video. We saw the rise of Myspace, Bebo and then Facebook came onto the scene.

 

Mulling over the playing field

Originally Facebook was developed purely for university students to contact each other. I remember the days when Facebook was widely unknown. I know because I was passionate for it to develop but nobody else seemed to know about the social networking sites’ existence! Only one of my older friends used it and then things changed. Younger people joined it from Secondary schools and original Facebook users made groups such as “Keep Facebook only for University Students”. There must be a few groups still out there if you search for them. Then older people began to join in greater numbers and to this day the average age of user on Facebook is meant to be around 40 years of age. Don’t think social networking is just for younger people.

logo_facebook

I’m discussing Facebook because I think Google Wave could be a real contender against this now popular social networking website. Some of you may have noticed how the near future of social networking seems to be all about social networking integration. Some social networking websites are built for different purposes in mind.

  • Last.fm keeps a record of the music you listen to and builds charts
  • Twitter allows you to update your happenings/ideas on the move
  • deviantART provides a service to share drawn images and photos
  • Forums always have a particular topic focus (gaming, programming, religion)

Above are some of the sites I have used but I much bigger list can be found on Wikipedia here. The list provides a scale of how large social networking has become.

The main reason why Facebook has dated so much is that it simply does not officially support any other social networking websites. Some third party applications can be found to run on Facebook (also third party in the sense no agreement has been made with Facebook) but in my experience none of these programmes have perfected the art to keep content organised. Unlike Facebook, Google have kept Google Wave open source. This means that developers can freely change code and develop programmes for Google Wave. However, Google have left themselves open for attack through this since it would be very easy for a competitor to use Google Wave’s code and develop their own Wave platform. Quite simply Google have said that Wave is such an insightful product that they will need the full support from the developers’ community, much like they asked for when constructing Android, Chrome and Google Maps.

 

So what is the Wave in Google Wave?

From what I can gather the Wave in Google Wave is actually the tree like structure in which conversations are set up. Many of you may experience some déjà vu when you see the structure of Google Wave as shown in the picture below.

Google Wave layout

What is important to remember about Google Wave is that essentially the foundations of the programme have arguably been copied from already existing social networking solutions. The user feed is very similar to the updates which can be found on Twitter. Conversations take place in a format which is commonly seen on Forum systems but with Facebook’s ability to comment on individually written pieces of a conversation.

Google Wave discussion

Keep in mind that Google Wave is not offering an alternative social networking website but instead the intention to replace the current emailing system. As the program is open source it will be possible for companies to replace their current aged email systems with the Google Wave application. This will allow easier group conversation but still keeping options for closed and private chat.

 

The aspects which make me wet

Social networking integration! Finally I will have a program which will allow me to easily organise Twitter and share updates with family, friends and co-workers. This integration will spread to other social networking websites as developers take control of the benefits of Wave.

Everything in Google Wave is set up in real time. When you write a reply to a message it will be possible for the recipient to see you type that message character by character. Not only is this challenging programming wise as it pushes against the limits of HTML5 but it is a pretty cool! Don’t worry though, if you are like me and spend ages rewriting pieces this feature can be turned off. This real time aspect of Google Wave includes anything which might be added to the conversation/wave.

Uploading photos onto the internet still involves the familiar browse button and file selection window. If you want to upload photos to Google Wave then all you have to do is drop and drag your image onto the browser window. The image will then automatically upload itself to the location you set it. For this Google have filed a request to have the programming standards changed since an add-on is currently required for this feature.

Google Wave after a while will be filled with many different conversations and content which needs to be easily organised. It will be possible to place previous or different Wave discussions into various conversational threads. This will be useful if you want to talk about a past topic or share some useful information. There are also different organisational tools such as the ability to tag items and categorise under subject headings. Of course you will have your simple search box to look through all your files and folders.

 

That’s all folks!

I have written over 1000 words about a program which I haven’t yet even used in person and so I think I will end this article here. If you are still interested in Google Wave after my ramblings then check out the Google Wave release video. It goes into far more depth than I have and is spoken by the people who have spent the past couple of years developing the software.