Using Google Wave in the LDS Church

Google Wave

Google Wave

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?

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12 Comments

  1. Ben
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Bryce, if you get an invitation, hook me up :)

  2. Posted October 10, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Will do, Ben! So far, I don’t see any invites in my account.

  3. Posted October 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I hope websites like Twitter and Faceboook and sites run by CMSes like Joomla, Drupal and WordPress will be able to integrate Google Wave. That will fundamentally change the way we communicate.

  4. Posted October 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, they’ve already made a Twitter bot for Google Wave, to be able to read and tweet from within Google Wave, and I’ve embedded a wave into this WordPress post above, so I think it’s only a matter of time.

  5. Posted October 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Bryce,
    I checked out Wave after I saw your post and I’m really excited about it. I would love to try it out! Definitely the “wave” of the future. Thanks for keeping us all up-to-date on the coolest new things!

  6. Kevin Harris
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I could see this being very useful in doing genealogical research. For example, you could start a “wave” for a specific ancestor and add photos, records, stories, etc. and be able to find out from other people what they have already done or where they have already searched for information. Instead of every person starting at square one and hitting the same block and giving up over and over. Not only would this allow for team work, but could re-energize people who had otherwise given up. Now they can see progress from everyone and lend their talents to moving the work of the Lord forward.

  7. Erin
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I have Wave but I don’t like that it posts my google wave address (which correlates to my gmail address) and my full name on websites so I’m going to comment the old fashioned way.

    VT/HT: I could see using Wave for scheduling visiting teaching and home teaching appointments. I typically have one email conversation going with my VT companion, one with one of the sisters I visit teach and another with the other sister I visit teach. It would be easier to add everyone to a wave. Although I suppose I could do the same thing with CC-ing on emails. Wave just seems faster.

    Family history: I’m the only member in my family, but the rest of the family is just thrilled that I’ll do their genealogy for them. I communicate with them mostly via email and it would be nice to create a genealogy wave where I could keep all of the messages in one spot. And where family members could see what information other family members had.

    I wonder how long Google Wave will take to catch on. Until then, I’ll be checking both my email and Google Wave.

  8. Posted October 12, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Great thoughts everyone. As far as family history goes, I think it might be useful. The New FamilySearch which is being rolled out slowly across the Church is going to have some amazing collaborative features for working on family lines and grouping information together on specific ancestors, etc., so everyone in a family can add their information and everyone else can see it and use it, and work on their genealogy together. It’ll be interesting to see if Wave factors into that equation.

  9. Russel.Geist
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Great ideas for an emerging technology, Bryce.

    Having served in various Elders Quorums in different capacities, the typical “weak link” has always been lack of working committees to support the threefold mission in the Quorum. The reason most cited has been difficulty getting the brethren together as committees without taking time from Quorum instruction on Sunday. I can certainly see Wave improving the collaboration within Priesthood committees.

  10. Posted October 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    One more idea is to bring absent members of Quorum or committee up to meeting.
    For example, if any of them is sick or on vacation trip, or travels on business…

    From any point of the world (of course, if there is the Internet connection) I can join a wave to discuss, plan or report together with my brethren. Or being in another time zone I can get all information about missing meeting as soon as I have Internet.

  11. Steve
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    You lucky dog, I haven’t got my invite yet, so if you’ve got a spare there’s a brother that would love a hook up!

  12. Posted November 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I liked the post about using wave for family history. With the new familysearch.org, you can do a lot more collaborating, because you can see what everyone else has done. I love the idea of posting photos, documents, & personal experiences using google wave. It will really need some tweaking before everyone can get used to it. Even being quite computer savvy, it took me a few minutes to figure out what in the world was going on as I used it. Like any new technology, it seems complicated at first, but the usefulness will be discovered as it is used often.

    I love being able to reply specifically where you want, as opposed to this format, or facebook, where you have to address who you’re commenting back to. In google wave, you can just reply to the exact spot you’re referring to. It would also be great for commenting back & forth, no more copying & pasting their comments before you reply to them.

    Thanks for the ideas!

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