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O’Reilly Network: Jon Udell: Instant Outlining, Instant Gratification [Apr. 01, 2002]

“When I turned in the first draft of my book, my editor, Tim O’Reilly, said: “This is great, but you ask too much from people.” And he was right. I was advocating not just a communication tool, but a way of using it to optimize collaboration. That meant asking people to narrate their work, but also to think carefully about the attention demands they placed on their coworkers, and to label, structure, and layer their communications accordingly. Most people didn’t want to do these things, and most people still don’t.

“What does all this portend for instant outlining? There’s reason to hope. It’s been clear to me for a long while that the only thing that might displace email would be some kind of persistent IM. That’s exactly what instant outlining is. If it catches on, and it’s buzz-worthy enough to do that, we’ll have a framework within which to innovate in ways that email never allowed.”

Interesting article – but I think that it still won’t catch on… persistent internet messageing, nice idea but email remains king IMO. ANY method of collab requires either dumbing the tools right down and working ad hoc OR education in a series of rules and protocols OR human facilitation and email groups + the GroupSense approach to their design and facilitation is a real world solution combining what people know already and do now with gentle nudges to a saner world. Well managed email groups have benefits over the Outlined approach in Radio. Threaded email IS outlined. It is persistent (locally and/or on the web). It is instant when needed, asynch when needed, groups can be defined and structured as needed and you can filter out certain users if you need to!

Why can’t these guys use email + mailinglists?

I am cross posting here – originally sent to Dan’s Online Group Weblog.

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