My Google invite was in my inbox yesterday morning. At 6:34 AM I opened my account. Here is what I saw.
That is because when you open your account, you are all alone. It was like landing on a new planet.
You sit there, with a Contact List that had no one in it, a Navigation panel and the space to the right for the creation of a Wave. Then I found my buddy Brian Reid and my buddy Chad Hyett. I created a Wave and dragged their icons from my contacts list into the Wave and introduced them. Then Brian, showing off his click and drag prowess, put a video into the Wave that discusses how Google Health might interact with physicians and patients through a Wave. Watch it. It does create fascinating possibilities for future medical collaborations, though as Jonathan Richman noted in a later Wave I'll discuss in a minute, it will take doctors and nurses about 50 years to figure out how to use it like this. Still, it does present a sort of Wave Utopian ideal.
Then this morning, I found that I had been invited into a Wave that was started for Social Pharmas on Google Wave – those of us who have been advocates and evangelists for better use of social media by the medical products industry. There are over a dozen of us now, and we have begun sharing tips, thoughts – Brian once again showed off his video embedding prowess, and Jonathan Richman embedded a zip file of a presentation he was working on.
So far, the content is lite as we all try to figure our way around it. But the potential for a great deal of collaboration and learning is apparent. We are engaged together and learning from one another already (I liked Jonathan's presentation) in ways we never would have done by email. Already, one sees possibilities emerging.
For example, in the past I've written what pharmas might consider doing in clinical trial recruitment, potential REMS programs and the like. I could also see a Wave being generated for internal purposes, directed to a sales force, to update them after a regulatory action like a Warning or Untitled Letter. Why couldn't you just do that by email? Well you could. But in a Wave, you could take their questions, answer them, and everyone could see it. Later, someone who wasn't on the Wave or who came in late, could hit replay and see the conversation unfold all over again. That is much more dynamic and efficient than an email. In fact, a company could update staff regularly with Waves that are directed at a specific subject, on an ongoing basis, by amending the Wave from time to time. When it is amended, those in the Wave would see on their screen that the Wave had changed and be able to go back an identify what had been added.
So far, Wave is extremely intriguing. But it also demands patience. Not everything is entirely intuitive and it is going to demand much more thought than a mere email or any other form of social media. The promise of Wave is unique and complex, but there is an accompanying amount of challenge as well. It is a unique communications art form, and not everyone will be a good artist.