Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If EMail is EFail, What's EFTW?

Twitter-GoogleImage by Nils Geylen via Flickr"The underlying problem is that individual human beings don't scale." - Jeff Atwood

Not only is email inefficient, it leads to lost information. If I send you something by email, but Bob needs that info, how is he supposed to get it? In this day in age, if you can't get it through a Google search bar, it doesn't exist.

Now, I don't want to dump all of my company's information into the big G's index, and their appliances are a little pricey. So what do we do about internal data? Here are a couple of ideas I've come up with recently.

  • Set up Wordpress and post time sensitive notices there.

  • Set up a Mediawiki and use it to document EVERYTHING.

  • When someone asks you a question, reply with the link, not the info.

  • When you get information by email, put it in the wiki and reply with the new link

  • When the volume of information starts to grow, set up Nutch, the open source search engine, or invest in a Google Mini.

This doesn't solve every problem. For instance, you still don't get a private Twitter or FriendFeed, but with a little creativity, I'm sure you can hack something together.

Final thought: Email is an expensive way to transfer information, and your time is to valuable.

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1 comment:

Mr. Senne said...

One thing I've been trying to get going at my office is Google Spreadsheets change notifications. If you want to use a spreadsheet (that most flexible of document formats) to sync data, lists of data and lists of lists you can do access control with Google Docs as well as setting up notifications to changes in a sheet. Google "has" your info and you have the option of making it public or private (so it CAN be searchable, but is not by default). You can easily embed these spreadsheets in a Google Sites site as well.

I find them easier to edit than a WordPress post, more controlled than MediaWiki, without email's shortcomings (but using Email as one notification tool), scalable, and (if your company is running on Google Apps) universally accessible.