What’s shorter than 140 characters?

What can possibly top Twitter and its immediacy, as well as brevity of contact? I think we found out this week, with Google Wave. Tim O’Reilly describes it as what email would be like if invented today. My first reaction, and judging from other responses, is that it’s remarkably similar to Ray Ozzie’s Groove, before Groove became little more than a ghost appendage to Microsoft.

Folks immediately started rumbling about “twitter killer”, but I look at it and see the answer to the question, “What can beat out 140 characters?” The answer is, evidently, echoed keystrokes as people make them.

I watched the presentation video (thank you for that, Google). Technologically, Google Wave is intriguing. What was also intriguing was Google’s strong emphasis on HTML5 during the presentation, including a reference to additions to the HTML5 spec. But the part that caught my attention is that Wave is actually echoing keystrokes. I can imagine the following discussion, happening live:

A: I just saw the demo of Google Wave …

B: Oh, yeah, that was terrific

A:….and it sucked

B: Oh, um, well I thought…

A: You liked it! Are you…

B: …it was innovative

A: …cracked?

Google Wave is ADD heroin.

I was thinking about Google Wave yesterday, as I ran the gauntlet that is known as Watson Street, here in St. Louis. As I dodged little old ladies who pull into the road without looking, and the 30 something guy who cut me off when he should have yielded, or contemplated the new ding in my car from some mother’s precious child opening his or her car door too hard, and too wide, I began to appreciate what Twitter, Google Wave, Blogging, Facebook, and other social media are: real life alternative communities.

Because in real life, we’re all pricks.

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