October 20, 2011

Why is Discussing Web Pages and Images So Hard?

In spite of claims to the contrary, Web 2.0 isn’t all that social. To be sure, a whole raft of new sites and apps provide ways to engage with others via the web, so the trajectory is certainly increasingly social. And many news sites, like blog sites, offer open commenting which can certainly improve real engagement.

But if you actually were looking to engage directly  – discuss, annotate, highlight, debate – on a web page or its contents, with a specified group of colleagues, you’d be hard pressed to find an effective way to do it.

Facebook or Google Plus may be the most effective ways to hold these discussions now:

Post the link in your status update, and perhaps direct it at a subset of your friends, perhaps using a Facebook list or a Google Plus Circle.

Then you could add comments in a thread beneath the link. (The web page, however, would remain in a separate window. So you’d have to toggle back and forth to read and then comment.)

If you wanted to highlight and discuss a particular item on the page – a sentence, say, or an image – you would have to describe its location, and/or, or paste a snippet, into your comment. But this can be awkward for your conversation partners to find the context in the web page.

Of course, even with this inefficiency, most organizations might not want to use Facebook or Google for their online engagement between colleagues. After all, they are by nature outside the normal operating environment of the organization.

Yammer, Chatter and Socialcast have capabilities similar to Facebook and Google Plus: when you add a link, they show you a thumbnail image and the first lines of text. This is useful to provide a little context about the web page, but it hardly constitutes visibility into the entire page and its contents. So you’re left toggling back and forth between the web page and the comment thread.

Envisioning the Solution

Discussing web pages and images is hard. But it’s important. Much of the information critical to your organization is on the web, or in a web app. Increasingly, people access this mission-critical content through a browser. But since the demise of the social browser, Flock, how can you effectively engage with colleagues on information, images or applications viewed through a browser?

What’s needed is an environment in which a web browser is fully integrated with a connected, social communication medium. This way, the conversation about the web stuff can be held while actually viewing the web stuff.

Imagine being able to point directly to the sentence in question, or draw a circle around a portion of a key image, or highlight a particular line item in an enterprise web app. Then with the link drawn, since you have an integrated messaging platform, you could direct a question or comment at the right people to help address the concern or interest.

Stop Imagining, Start Discussing!

Well, you don’t have to just imagine this really useful environment for working together on web stuff. You could just adopt Convofy in your organizations. Our social communications and activity feed is fully integrated with your web browsing experience.

With Convofy, you can point directly to the sentence in question:

Or draw a circle around a portion of a key image:

Or highlight a particular line item in an enterprise web app (in this case, using amazon.com as the stand-in for an enterprise system):

The Discussion Problem Solved

Using Convofy, discussing all manner things on the web doesn’t have to be hard. It becomes part of your daily activity and communications stream.

Check us out at convo.com, or leave a comment here (effective, though it pales in comparison to Convofy).

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