Monday, 15 August 2011

Thing 13 - Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

I have to admit I was quite intrigued when I read this week's blog post, because I had never heard of Dropbox and although I had heard of Google Docs, I had never investigated, so it's been really good for me to get the chance once again to try out some new concepts in terms of technology. One thing that cpd23 is teaching me is that in some respects, I am pretty far behind in terms of knowing what's cutting edge in terms of IT/social media etc! Never would have thought that before, so it's great that cpd23 is opening my eyes to all kinds of new tools/websites etc.

Google Docs
I know I keep saying it, but I am quite dumbfounded that something like this exists! It is so easy to use, you can even import documents already created or create them online. It is undoubtedly a great way of collaborating on a document. There is no way we would be able to use it here at work, simply because we have a very rigid filing system, and so most documents are saved to a server, and other people can edit them if you, the creator, give them rights to do so. So we already are able to collaborate in that way - but I have to say, Google Docs is a really nice application, and while I can't find a use for it at work, I am thinking of all the other ways I could use it out of work. You can also upload photos and videos - it really is fantastic. My fiance and I have a wedding planning spreadsheet that is currently on my laptop - this could be a great way of sharing access to it and thereby making life a lot easier! I'll definitely be looking for ways of integrating this into my general life.

I was impressed by this as well, although my initial reaction was it's a bit 'samey' in terms of functionality - to me it does pretty much the same as Google Docs, ie allows easier collaboration. If I had to choose, I would stick with Google Docs because it's all under the Google Account umbrella, and this way I don't need another login to remember! Having said that, another blogger just mentioned that she was using Dropbox to clear out some old documents to free up room on her laptop - I thought this was quite a good idea as well, although less about collaboration, admittedly!

This is the point where I have to hold my hands up and say I really have a strong dislike for anything to do with Wikis. I don't know exactly why, but I have never found them useful - with the only exception being Wikipedia!! Although in principle I can see it's a good way of sharing info and encouraging everyone to keep it up to date and so on, I just try and steer clear of them. I think this could be because in one of my previous jobs, a Wiki was set up in which our team was meant to share info on our job roles, so we all knew what everyone did...we all became somewhat disillusioned when everything - literally, everything, was modified in some way by the manager after hours! Kind of defeated the purpose of group collaboration in my eyes and I think that may explain my aversion to all things Wiki-related! That having been said, in the right environment, and as the cpd23 blogger points out, it's a great way to keep track of particular duties, for example, among a small group of people. The Library Routes project is a great concept also. I am happy to hold my hands up and say that it's probably me who needs to get over this dislike of Wikis - something to work on, I guess!

Thing 13 has given me loads of food for though - aims are to utilise Google Docs and explore the world of Wikis a little further than just Wikipedia!

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