Turning Google Buzz Into A Collaboration Tool

A couple hours ago, I participated in the weekly #smchat that happens every Wednesday at 12PM CST, 1PM EST on Twitter. Today’s topic was collaboration in social media and there was a really good conversation going on. During the conversation, I brought up Google Wave as a good collaboration tool and @ideasurge brought up a good point:

And I totally agree. Google Wave has quite a learning curve and even I had a hard time learning everything and still confused about how some things work. This all got me thinking: What about using Google Buzz to collaborate? Many companies (over two million) use Google Apps within their organizations. Granted, Buzz doesn’t have some of the cool features that Wave has, but at least this way you won’t have to put people through a 1 week training course ;-)

In case you didn’t know, Google Buzz is integrated inside of Gmail which makes it a very likely tool to use.

The first step is in making everything private. If you’re collaborating with fellow team members, you don’t want that information being accessible to the outside world. And you definitely don’t want company information being leaked out. Once the account is created, make sure you’re signed in and go to http://www.google.com/profiles. Click the “View My Profile” button on the top right of the page and on the new page, click “Edit My Profile”.

Simply uncheck the box that says “Display the list of people I’m following and people following me”. When you do that, scroll to the bottom and click save changes. Now, no one can see who you’re connected with (your team members at work) and all that’s left after this is to make sure all team members are following one another.

One important thing to note that when posting something, make sure to select the private option which is to the right of the post button. That way, only the people following you (your team members) will see it and it won’t be posted on your Google Profile page.

A question that will probably come up with this idea is, “How do you make sure the accounts are setup properly?“. Someone within the company, most likely a tech person, will, when these accounts need to be created, go in there and make all the necessary changes to ensure the private conversation. Hopefully Google Wave will become easier to use and more simplified but in the meantime, Google Buzz is a viable solution to companies and businesses all over the world, already using Google Apps.

I’m sure someone will think to say it and yes, you could just use the IM, video chat, and voice chat feature (Google Talk) built into Gmail. However, that’s only a one-to-one conversation. Using Google Buzz, you can get ALL team members in on the conversation at the same time.

“What do you think about this? Is it a viable choice for companies needing to collaborate within the organization?”