eGether: What Google Wave Should Have Been

Months ago I was asked to participate in a new site being set up. I declined. My time is already backlogged all to hell and some days I can’t keep my head above the flood of new stuff coming in.

Also, how many sites can I participate in? Can anyone participate in? I had to drop MySpace. I hate Facebook. And it’s gotten to the point where something has to be really, really special to grab me.

I thought that something would be Google Wave. When I finally got my invite from Google, I signed in — and was horrified by the mess of it. None of it made any sense. If I can’t use it immediately, if I need to get an education to use it, you can just about forget it these days.

Why should I or anyone else bother with what amounts to bad design? Why encourage that when there are others who can do it right and make all of our lives easier?

Last night I was again invited to look at the new site being set up. It was near-launch. OK, I bit.

And it’s going to change everything. What they’ve accomplished is Something Big and I really think it’s going to make a lot of lives easier and it’s something book publishing and writers especially should jump on.

There is one problem that has been insurmountable for effective communication between companies and the press: dispersal.

If I want to find out what’s happening at various publishers, I have to go to their sites or get on a dumb email list. I don’t have time for that. It’s not an effective use of my — or anyone’s — time.

What’s been needed is a place I can go to where everyone is and be able to quickly see what’s new and what I might like to write about.

I thought Twitter would be that place. But it turns out there are only so many updates I can handle in an hour. I’ve gone past that point and had to stop Following everybody and relegate some to Lists where I can catch up when I have the chance.

So, I still need that one place I can go to.

That’s what egether is going to do: be that one place.

Let me show you what I saw last night. This is a pitch from TeleNav:

Click = big

All that I need to see is right there. I don’t have to go to their site or YouTube or Follow them on Twitter or go anywhere else. I don’t have to get on their press email list.

As it happens, I have no interest in TeleNav. But consider that as an example for book publishing and for DIY writers.

You can put up the key points of your press release, the entire press release itself, a cover illustration, a video — which could be a book trailer or a Q&A with the writer or something else. It’s all right there where every book blogger can see it and use as a starting point for their posts. And you can communicate with the person making the pitch right then and there — no exiting to email or Twitter or anything else.

This is brilliant!

Like Twitter, there are also networks of people that can be established. I got a Connection Request from Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary this morning and making that connection was painless and swift. The User Interface design is wonderful!

This is the main screen when I joined this morning:

Click = big

It’s all a very clean, uncluttered design.

What you will see as the site evolves will be different. I think as networks form, we will most likely see those who are in our own network, as we do with Twitter Followers.

I’ve signed up for this and I think everyone in book publishing and writing should too. This is something that can have a real impact on the way things are done, making communication from one to many very, very easy.

And it’s not just professionals who can sign up — anyone can. Consumers can join to follow companies and products. Imagine all those book buyers who want to keep up with what’s being published. This makes it easy.

For writers, this would be in addition to having a blog. This is where a writer can go directly to those who want to cover writers. As the universe of print shrinks, the word will have to go out electronically — and this will be the place to do that when engaging with the press.

This is how to make it effective, according to Vincent Nguyen:

Status update shouldn’t take longer than 30-60 sec and pitch shouldn’t take longer than 3-5 min to submit. On the flip side, it should take you longer than 5-10 sec to read a status update and no longer than 30-sec to read or watch a pitch. This is very similar to an elevator pitch — you literally have less than 30-sec to get someone’s attention. This is why we limit status update to 255 char vs twitter’s 140 and pitch is limited to 999 char otherwise people will ramble on and on and on…it doesn’t end there. We allow people to upload docs or zip files for all their media kit.

Make it short and sweet (I know, how unlike this blog post!).

I’ve signed up. I think you should too. Do it even if you can’t see the usefulness of it right now — in order to secure your username before someone else does.

Go join eGether.

Here is a demo video:

Here is the official press release:

Come Together with eGether, a collaborative multi-dimensional service combining the best functionality from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn

Scottsdale, AZ, and Dallas, TX, December 8, 2009 — eGether is a collaborative multi-dimensional service combining the best functionality from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn, in a social portal for consumers, press, PR and analysts. Launching today in public beta, eGether is centered around an Activity Pitching Engine (APE) that initially combines 255 character status updates and 999 character pitches, using familiar @ status messaging for inter-user communication. Status updates can include one image, while pitches can include image and video content (including embedded YouTube), documents such as DOC, PDF and ZIP, and hyperlinks.

eGether was founded by Vincent Nguyen and Ewdison Then after they had grown frustrated using a combination of existing networking tools to collaborate. Twitter is significantly limited in characters and doesn’t allow for direct media upload, while Facebook allows for longer status updates and media sharing — but only among registered members who are friends in the system. LinkedIn offers social and profile pages, but lacks collaborative support.

In contrast, eGether is structured around Activities and Connections. Activities originate from user status updates and pitches, combined with user-defined contact information, online galleries that can be tagged with people, products or anything else. Meanwhile Connections include private and public circles — groups of other eGether users with whom they collaborate, or topics about which they are interested. eGether also allows consumers to obtain product and service information direct from the source, rather than second-hand. Consumers can use global search for the latest reviews, or connect with PR teams or journalists; PR firms can freely pitch their clients’ products and services, rather than sending out individual alerts.

eGether offers a single information point with an URL that can be shared via email, Twitter, Facebook and more. Visitors can then engage in discussion with everyone from consumers, to people in the media, to analysts, or even engineers involved in the company. eGether also empowers users to connect and share what’s on their mind, or even just to share their thoughts on the shiny new gadget they received over the holidays.

eGether is supported by an advisory board including Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies, Inc.; Michael Gartenberg, Vice President of strategy and analysis at Interpret, LLC (, Seth Combs (, Interactive Brand Strategist and Judie Lipsett (, tech blogger. eGether is solely funded by R3 Media, the network behind Technorati Top 10 technology blog SlashGear ( and the world’s largest Android Community ( For more information, visit

Stop tipping & start pitching…to


11 Responses to eGether: What Google Wave Should Have Been

  1. I signed up. I “get” it, kind of, but like Wave, until there’s more people using it, I not sure why I’d ever log in.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mikecane: @jane_l @DocNoir @VictorGischler @david_hewson @Peculiar @vooktv @Booksquare @katgautreaux JOIN IT!

  3. This currently seems very much like a message board. Then again, given the platform’s apparent simplicity, it’s likely that a huge amount of variation and complexity is possible that could take this away from a message board. Intriguing…

  4. Very similar to BuddyPress that is available as a wordpress plugin.

  5. Jason Kolb says:

    You think a proprietary system can be the next “big thing”? While Wave is still rough, I like the fact that it can be run on your own server. In order for something new to achieve the kind of penetration it’ll take to be the next big thing, I really think it has to be open. Just my 2c…

    • mikecane says:

      It’s not about whether something is open or not. It’s about whether people can use it easily. Wave is FAIL in that crucial matter.

      • laura says:

        I’ve been thinking about this. God knows the current version of the UI is barely usable. However, since wave is open, can’t anyone create their own user interface?

  6. Henry Baum says:

    I think you’re right about egather, at least for me. Facebook doesn’t really interest me – too insular. I want to be able to reach people I don’t know. Twitter’s 140 is too limiting, but I like the ability to add media with Facebook. This combines the two. I hope it catches on, but doesn’t get too clouded with crap. That’s difficult when everything’s public.

    • mikecane says:

      I want every person who does a book blog to join so writers can get easier exposure. This is Day One, so we can’t expect much action yet.

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