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September 9, 2012 / tasha cowdy

Which communication tool?

The members of my quad-blogging group agreed to set aside time this weekend to work on our collaborative blog post. Up till this point we had been using twitter and a Google doc to communicate asynchronously, leaving comments for each other to deal with in their own time. This was fine for the gathering information stage, but now that we were pulling the whole thing together we needed to increase the communication level.

We were working in three time zones, with a difference of 14 hours. Julie gallantly got up at 4am in the morning so she could catch Jay in Indonesia and me in Japan. Throughout the day we communicated synchronously and asynchronously, switching seamlessly from twitter to Google doc to Skype. Before Julie joined us (her night time, our day time) Jay and I were tweeting. There was something that needed a little clarification so we switched to Skype to iron out the details and then went back to work on twitter, sharing links to Google docs. Julie joined us. We had included her in the tweets we had sent before she joined, so she was able to catch up on the asynchronous conversation and join us synchronously.

Jay left and Julie and I went to work on the Google doc, she in Canada and me in Japan, both frantically typing, cutting and pasting, our colored markers moving around each other on the doc. Every now and then we would send a quick twitter comment, such as “pls chk out edited text, highlighted in pink”. When my bed time came, I bid my team-members goodnight and went off to bed in the knowledge that the asynchronous communication would continue via twitter and the Google doc.

I am a big believer in face to face communication and frequently complain about the shortcomings of on-line exchanges. However, when I stop and think about it, I do think it’s amazing that three strangers separated by thousands of miles and 14 hours can build a relationship and work together, switching effortlessly (more or less!) between synchronous and asynchronous communication, selecting from a range of tools to find one that best suits a particular purpose at a particular time.



Leave a Comment
  1. Julie Balen / Sep 9 2012 21:49

    You guys Skyped?

    • Tasha Cowdy / Sep 11 2012 19:35

      Yes! We were online at the same time (our Saturday morning), typing back and forth, in 140 characters or less. One of us had the bright idea of making the most of the synchronous possibilities. It’s so much quicker and easier to get clarification over Skype. At one stage we had Skype, G docs and twitter all at once! l love how it’s possible to switch back and forth between tools.

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