Kevin notes “poor Troy designed his blog banner by using the Writely interface as his design template.” Indeed! Who would have thought that merely a few months into using a tool like Writely the screen shot that I turned into a banner would be so significant.
Kevin also notes the Google/You Tube deal which overshadowed the whole change from Writely to Google docs. Part of what makes this so depressing for me, when you look at the Google business strategy (and how it reflects our culture at large) is that You Tube — full of interesting things, for sure, but also full of copyright violations and other nasty stuff — gets bought for a billion and a half dollars. Writely, a collaborative tool that has major implications for how we compose and revise texts, barely gets a sniff anywhere, let alone in the news media. What this tells me is that the ability to rip content off a Tivo and post it to YouTube is more important than creating new material in a collaborative fashion.
I generalize and perhaps overstate this a little bit (OK, quite a bit), but the simple fact for me remains that YouTube (for most users) is still a passive media, despite the very original content that some folks are posting there. Writely, on the other hand, invites collaboration from the get go, and it seems as though the implicit affordances and limitations of each tool are being ignored in the larger conversation about how and why we want to write new media for the web.
Oh well, the Google Docs still work, and eventually will probably work even better, so I can’t complain too much. Maybe it will have a presentation tool coming soon?
More importantly, there are other things to look forward to here, namely the K12 Online Conference next week.