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2008-04-18 16:10
by Will Carroll

Baseball tends to skip generations. Maybe not if you're a Boone or a Griffey, but when it comes to technology, teams tend to make advances in leaps, not steps. When I started -- which wasn't that long ago -- teams dealt in phone calls and faxes. Like most people, I didn't have a home fax machine, but I did have email. It was very annoying that they'd take one, but ignored the other.

Then mobile phones became ubiquitous and scouts discovered the Blackberry. Texting quickly became the new way of touching base. Over the last two years, it's become significantly easier to get a text response than it is to email or even get someone to pick up a call. I know of at least one GM that conducted almost all of a trade via text, using that to once say to the media that he hadn't spoken to his counterpart. He wasn't lying.

So what's next? Players are beginning to blog (though I have ideas about why this won't work in this form) and things like Twitter and Pownce are getting some traction in the tech world. I still haven't found a way to use these in my work. I tried using Pownce, mostly because a friend begged me to try the service, during the spring. I wasn't doing UTK but there were updates and I wanted to get them out there. It worked, but ... not great and not high enough adoption rate. I'm no Scoble ... yet. Facebook? Same thing. So far, I've only found ways to be more connected to my readers, which I was already doing a pretty good job of through email. It's actually "spread my attention" - instead of one inbox kept on a GTD plan, now I have an inbox, Facebook, and more.

What are you using, how could you see it used, and why? Hit it in comments.

Next time, I'll tell you why I think. GPS is the key to the next generation.

2008-04-18 18:01:50
1.   Scott Long
Great stuff so far, Will. When Will asked if he could join the Juice, I had no idea he was going to be so prolific. I think this Carroll kid has a chance to be successful at this blogging game.

All I can say to your post is I'm waiting until Jim Hendry gets his own myspace page, as I so want to friend him!!!

2008-04-19 16:39:50
2.   joejoejoe
I use Google documents to share spreadsheet information online with people. You can allow friends to edit the spreadsheets and sometimes somebody in the circle of people you have involved will add a new category of data which helps you see the existing data in a new perspective.

For writing projects a company called 37Signals has a free online writing/sharing/editing product called Writeboard that is easier and simple to use than just about any other online word processor. I could see the Toaster contributers using Writeboard when working on a joint project. 37Signals also has a great book available free online called Getting Real which has a ton of good advice about technology that is applicable to just about any project.

I'll just close by saying tech doesn't solve everything. I have a friend with a missing cat with a microchip implant implanted in the cat with the identifying ID but she's also putting up handmade fliers in her neighborhood looking for the missing cat. The microchip will pay off if the cat is returned to a shelter but until that time there is no better way to get the word out then tacking up posters where actual human beings can see them.

Any technology will develop signal-to-noise issues as the circle of users gets wider. I used to work in a warehouse where something like 40 people were on the same open channel radio. If you have disciplined usage that's not a problem but as soon as people start using the radio for casual chit-chat you have a good number of people who stop listening to the radio. If you keep the circle of users in whatever form you use tight and focused and tech can be useful. If you don't, you're going to spend time sorting through noisy communication which costs time -- not a good thing if the point of tech is to become more efficient.

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