Anyone who has been following this blog for some time knows that I love new technologies, and most particularly how those new technologies might be used to benefit the Church and the work of the kingdom of God on the earth. Last week I received a nomination to the “preview” of the new Google Wave service from a friend on Twitter (thank you!). Last night I finally received my invitation to join the service and test it out. I quickly hopped on board and began exploring.
I’ve only used the tool for a few hours, and its only available in a very limited preview release at the moment, but I’m already wondering how this cool new technology could be used in the Church to help the work roll on. For those who are not familiar with the service, it is being touted as the ultimate collaboration tool, an amalgam of email, instant messaging, wikis, social networking, document collaboration, picture/video sharing, and much more. Many are still not sure what exactly its potential is, or if it will even catch on. But from my limited encounter so far, it does seem like a powerful tool for working on things together, and I think it will be of use to many.
So the question that’s been rolling around in my head then is, how can we use Google Wave in the Church? How could it facilitate those things we already do in the Church to make them better? How can we harness its power to help the threefold mission of the Church accomplish its ends in a quicker, easier, or simpler way?
The introductory material in Google Wave gives some use case scenarios of when you might use Google Wave. I’ve included the main points below with some thoughts about how each could be used in the Church:
- Organizing Events – heaven knows that members of the Church love having events: BBQs, ward breakfasts, luaus, scout camps, Christmas parties, primary activities, Relief Society meetings (formerly “Enrichment”), sports activities, holiday get togethers, firesides, reunions, etc. Sometimes, however, organizing such events can be a big headache, especially for the activity coordinators in the ward. Might Google Wave be a way for everyone to hop online and bust out ideas, brainstorms, organization, menus, RSVPs, maps, program, etc.?
- Meeting Notes – if we love our events, we also love our meetings, right? Well, maybe not all the time. Sometimes we have meetings just to say we have meetings, and they don’t get anywhere very fast. If they do get a lot discussed, it is almost all forgotten the next day. From quorum presidencies, relief society presidencies, committee meetings, PEC, ward council, bishopric meetings, home teaching coordination meetings, and the list goes on. Could Google Wave be used to prepare an agenda, keep notes among all participants, record assignments and decisions, and follow up with each other after the fact?
- Group Reports and Writing Projects – “Return and report” is a well used expression in the Church, one in which we go do our duty, and then report back to our priesthood leaders the result. We also like to write histories, journals, family genealogies and summaries of ward activities, stake activities, personal activities, quorum activities, family activities, and personal activities. Might Google Wave be a tool in which all those who participate in such activities or duties could collaborate together on such reports or projects to produce a history much stronger than one could alone?
- Brainstorming – I must say, one of the most brainstorming intensive times of my week is when I’m in a Church meeting, or in a meeting that is Church-related, trying to come up with ideas: ideas for lessons, ideas for activities, ideas for answers to Gospel questions, ideas for how to be a better person, ideas for family activities, ideas for bringing the Gospel into my home, ideas for talks, ideas for fellowshipping or missionary work, etc. We do a lot of brainstorming in the Church, trying to come up with the best ways of being most effective and conscientious disciples. Could Google Wave could bring together like-minded members to do a brain dump of creative ideas?
- Photo Sharing – Latter-day Saints love to share photos! We take photos and pass them around for scout camps or girl’s camps, ward activities, youth conferences, Fathers and Sons outings, or even things more practical like ward or quorum photo directories, or teaching visual aides. Might Google Wave be an optimal place for everyone to get together to drop their photos for an activity to share them with each other, and easily create a group album and slideshow?
These are just some of the things I’ve been pondering about since I first heard about the potential of Google Wave. We don’t know everything that Google Wave can do yet, and it has ability to be added to quite significantly with gadgets and extensions, but if this technology really takes off like many say it will, the Church and its members will surely find uses for it to help them in their responsibilities and studies.
What are some ideas you have for how Google Wave might be used in the Church, and for the building up of Zion? And just to get the waving started, if you already have Google Wave, I’ve embedded a wave directly below for discussion of this topic which you can use to add your thoughts right here! (You’ll need to be logged in to Google Wave to see it.) If you don’t have Google Wave, you’ll just see a message below that says you cannot yet access Google Wave, but feel free to leave your comments in the blog comment area further below, like normal.
I’m anxious to hear your thoughts! Any way we could use this technology in temple work?
[wave id="googlewave.com!w+h2fvBN8CC" color="#000000" bgcolor="#ffffff" font="Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" font_size="10" width="625px" height="700px"]