A section I covered was wall-to-wall posting and private messaging. Google Plus has none of these; instead in Rawn Shah’s
words it’s more "esoteric"…meaning that we have used the features a certain way to come up with what seems private conversations ie. there is no explicit feature called "wall posting" or "private messaging" as of yet. But perhaps a more fit word is online email-style collaboration; where the conversation is seen by a select few who get invited in as the conversation progresses…but only threaded and not messy like email.
First let’s visit Facebook…
When you private message in Facebook you use the designed private/direct message feature where it’s a conversation between you and a selected few.
@mention from your stream
When you @mention someone in Facebook from your own profile, that person will get a notification, and all your friends will see it.
When you have a wall-to-wall conversation in Facebook you don’t initiate it from your profile, instead you visit that person’s profile to make your post.
Then the way it works is that only your mutual friends will be able to see your posts (but I think you can change this in the settings to make it more open).
NOTE: In IBM Connections
your post on the person’s wall will be seen by their friends…this is perfect for the enterprise context where you can tap into someone else’s network…perhaps this is the idea behind G+ Extended Circles.
Now let’s look at G+
When you @mention someone in G+ and also select Public or a Circle, that person will get a notification, and your followers will see it.
When you use "@mention" without using any other selections like "Circles" or "Public", this is more similar to Facebook private messaging than wall posting; as only the two people in the conversation can see the post.
But then you’d want a G+ feature where you can collect these types of conversations eg. where’s that individual to individual conversation I had with Gerry last month
At any time the author or commenter can @mention people to join the private conversation.
So it’s not strict private messaging as the author cannot control a one-to-one conversation, and it’s not wall posting as other followers aren’t part of it by default….indeed esoteric.
But what it does remind me of is email collaboration, but only more neat.
We have always advocated for people to go online to a group space to start their conversation. But no-one is motivated to shift context. They already hang out where they do doing other types of communication, they don’t want to go elsewhere. And more importantly we cannot always clairvoyantly have a pre-defined group space for the type of thing someone wants to communicate. And no-one is about to create a forum and send invites and wait for people to subscribe so finally they can say something…that’s ludicrous.
Spontaneous and adhoc conversations is basically what we do in email most of the day ie. something happens or I have to do something, I kick off an email to someone. Soon enough that gets kicked around and some more people are in on the conversation (yes of course there are parallel conversations happening…this is indeed the weakness of email). As you can see the group of people evolve as the conversation grows, previously we simply didn’t know who’d be involved. And the email conversation itself ends up being the group space. This is very organic and intune with our we behave and action stuff.
This is why group spaces have been good for interest groups, or pre-defined tasks, but not those many informal tasks or things we do everyday at work…which later on can even become the precursor to more defined task.
Anyway nowadays we can use enterprise microblogging, which is an open version of this email type collaboration…only neater ie. threaded with a history of the conversation. Just like people can be forwarded or included as the email conversation progresses, the same can happen with @mentioning online. Using G+ as public posts and @mentions is a perfect example of this…using it this way is exactly like Twitter, only now you get threaded conversations and notifications if you have previously left a comment.
People may be happy to do this sort of thing online, but might not like the visibility of it. They may ask if we can do this online in a private way. In addition to being shy, they may also not want others to see this type of conversation online as it’s of very low use for anyone else…ambient awareness does have its limits in being noise.
So there you have it G+ can be used for neat and open multi-people conversations, both in a public way, and a private invite type way (that resembles email)
What I like about this is that people can still resume their private email type behaviours, but only online…and they will like the neatness of it and that it’s documented…that’s level 1. Once they get used to this, hopefully they may then open up the conversations in a "public" way…and all of a sudden you have Twitter-type ambient awareness in the enterprise…that’s level 2.
Here’s my findings
…I did a little test in Google Plus with this result (this is a modified excerpt):
"There is no G+ private message feature. Instead just post as regular and @mention one person or even a few…make sure you don’t choose any circles or public.
Then go to your profile and type the name of the person you @mentioned in ""View profile as"…voila, you will see your post. Now do the same thing for a person that you follow but you did not @mention…voila you will not see your post
Therefore there is no explicit private message feature, instead you just post as usual, but @mention the person and don’t choose public or any circles.
Note how this is not a wall posting feature; it’s more leaning to a way to do private messaging.
From here both the author of the post and the commenter can @mention to invite people into the conversation.
Of course you only get notifications if you authored the post, or have already left a comment…or if someone @mentions you
NOTE: The weird thing is that when I view my profile as the person who was @mentioned by the person I initially @mentioned, then the post does not display…something is inconsistent here. But when speaking to this person they are indeed seeing the conversation and commenting.
Anyway, this functionality is just like email collaboration but only not as messy, and it’s documented…finally a way to do spontaneous private group collaboration (but the group is not defined up front, it instead evolves). This sort of thing happens in email, but it’s so clunky that we complain all the time
This functionality is not like private messaging, as PM is only one to one (not even the sender can invite others into the PM)
NOTE: The closest G+ has to a wall posting feature is if you @mention someone but also include Extended Circles (which means all people you follow and some people in the mentioned people’s circles will also see it)
calls these types of email conversations "spools":
"I’ve seen email threads that should have been called spools. Someone asks you to do something. It’s going to involve a number of people. You add their names and respond. They individually respond and add others as they see necessary. If this goes like most, soon you have an email snowball that has engulfed anyone close enough to get pulled into it’s gravitation field. Stop the insanity…go social.
You get an email asking you to do something that will involve others or multiple steps, use Connections Activities. This can be as simple as dragging the email into your Notes sidebar onto the Activities widget. This will create a social activity. Once done, you can add tasks and items to the activity. You can assign people and add content. Your actions will generate short email alerts to those involved, linking them to the activity, where the conversation takes place. The emails are merely announcements with links. The real conversation is done outside the inbox. Now if anyone joins late, they aren’t relegated to pouring through an email thread to try to discern relevant information. Instead, they find themselves in a social activity that is structured such that the information is easily found and acted upon."
Spontaneous conversations across levels of hierarchy and departments…email or microblogging
Enterprise microblogging : you no longer have to report back to base
Enterprise activity stream - email conversations with externals staying threaded in the stream