May 9th, 2008 | Published in Google Docs
Aliza Sherman first wrote a version of these posts in a shorter item for Web Worker Daily, entitled Learning to Love Google Docs. She's generously expanded the ideas in that post for us here, and included tips and tricks for those of you attempting to incorporate Google Docs into your lives. Here's the first of a 5 part series we're calling Aliza's chronicles.
I’ve said it before and I'll say it again: I am a devoted Gmail user. I'm also a big Google fan but must confess that I avoided using Google Docs for far too long. Until recently, that is. At first, I couldn't understand why I'd want to upload documents to the Web when I've been emailing them to clients and colleagues for years. As a Web worker - Internet strategist, project director, pro-blogger, and a social media and virtual world marketer, I'm very comfortable online. But as a self-taught techie, I still experience that moment of fear that I just won't be able to figure out the technology.
Besides hating to read instructions to anything, I tend to always zero in on just a few capabilities of any Web-based application because I often feel overwhelmed by the options and possibilities. First, I test out an application at the moment I'm in desperate need of a viable solution. Then if it isn't easy to use without a manual, I continue to use it until the crisis is over. If it really makes my life and work easier, then it becomes second nature to me.
Suddenly, a questionable "process" became streamlined. Any of us could access the document at any time and see the most recent updates from other team members. Work was no longer duplicated, tasks that had been in limbo were now completed. And whenever the client asked for a status report, I was confident that I was providing them with the most recent versions of the spreadsheets.
I gave in to my Docs resistance, the dark clouds parted, the sun shone through, and suddenly, there was order in the chaos.
1. If you have clients or team members who don't have a Gmail account, encourage them to sign up for a Google account first before you direct them to your Google Docs. This just streamlines the process of getting everyone into the documents in the first place.
2. If you are working with someone who is not comfortable with technology but is fine with email, you can also attach the document as a PDF file to an email and send to them. Gradually, they'll feel more comfortable and will usually start accessing the document through Google Docs directly.
I'll talk more about the Big Switch in my next post.