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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Easy Group Communication

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be taking a look at a site that aims to facilitate conversation between groups of people.  This tool is geared towards any kind of user- educators, business people, artists….anyone.  I think that this site, if one could promote conversation, would be really valuable to the library world.  It’s an exciting tool that I’m happy to share with you today.  Let’s take a look at Convore!

From the site: “Convore is a quick way to instant message with groups of friends in real-time. You can join in on conversations about topics that interest you, or start your own conversations. Don’t worry about missing anything, because we keep track of what you’re not seeing, so that when you return, you can easily catch up! But don’t take our word for it, join in on the fun and see for yourself. “

Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

One of the first things that appeals to me about this site is the ability to have a conversation outside of email.  I don’t think it’s any secret that I wish email would just give up and die already, and it’s possible that tools like this could be what fills that empty place.  The idea of being able to have a conversation out on the web (privately or in public) as opposed to having to have a long email conversation and jammed inbox is very appealing to me.  In my last job we instituted a private social network to hold conversations about staffing for this very reason.

Okay, getting off my soapbox, let’s talk about the tool.  First of all, creating an account in Convore is incredibly easy.

There was also an option to sign up with Facebook connect, but I’ve had weird things happen with that on other sites.  I chose to sign up for an account using my email address.

The next thing (of course) is to sync your social networks.  Also, quite easy.

Once you’ve done your duty and socially connected to your Twitter and Facebook, you’re pretty much all set to start being conversational on Convore.  The whole sign-up took 3 minutes, tops, and was really very easy.

Once you’re in you see a pretty much blank slate.

From here you can create a group or find a group to join.  Since I am sort of actually interested in this tool, I thought I’d set it up as I’d use it as Chair of COIL. So I created a COIL group.

Once you’ve filled out the form to create a group you’re pretty much in.  From here you can invite people through Facebook and Twitter, post and create different topics of conversation.

Here’s what the Facebook announcement looks like:

Posting new topics of conversation is very easy.  Here you can see a topic I started concerning our next meeting in June.  I’ve posted some of the agenda items here as an example.

It’s very chatroom-like.  It utilizes the Twitter @’s as a way to indicate replies to statements.  Statements can be favorited or marked with a star as important.

One interesting thing about this is that UNlike chatrooms, when you leave Convore the conversation that happens will be there the next time you log in.  So you’re never really missing out on the conversation.  If you used Twitter in this fashion the time-line would be distorted due to the frequency people tweet.

If you’re interested in what other groups are out there you can browse for other groups.

You can also search for specific topics or groups.

Here’s a look at a well populated group with active conversations:

Overall I really liked this site.  I don’t know if it’s something we can use for our pre-conference social network, but it has potential.  I’ll have to explore the ability to upload pictures or maps to see if this is something that can fill our specific workshop needs.  It seems like there are so many tools out there that have such varied capabilities it’s hard to find exactly what will work for you.

That said, I really liked Convore.  I think it could be useful in a lot of settings, though I could see it being hard to encourage participation.  As always, adopting a new tool takes consideration of many factors.  Sometimes it’s easier to stay with the tool you know will work for you.  Other times it’s worth the leap.  Who knows!

Feel free to check out the COIL group and join the test conversation.

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