There was an interesting post today picked up by my blog alerts from a site called “Criminal Defense Law with an Apple“. The alert for references to Buzzword picked up the post because it contained the following line:
I see no reason to review Adobe’s Buzzword, because we already have really solid solutions for word processing.
This was stated in the context that there were so many other useful new applications emerging on the web, that evaluating “traditional” categories wasn’t worth the effort. We clearly haven’t reached that blog author yet, so let’s be clear again here: writing with Buzzword is something new, it’s not the same as writing in Word. Yes, the keystrokes all translate neatly and in an orderly fashion to letters on the screen. And, as with Word, in time and with enough of these keystrokes, a document emerges that is worthy of sharing.
Of course, if you never write with others, either reviewing or co-authoring, and if you are content to just print out your finished product, or keep your documents sequestered on your own computer, then the world of “word processing” has not been appreciably impacted by the advent of Buzzword.
On the other hand, as Robert Wright demonstrated so thoroughly in his book, “Non-Zero”, isn’t collaboration at the heart of how we evolved as a species?
To the many thousands of people who have begun actively using Buzzword, it is not the same as writing in Word. The thought of attaching a document to an email message, or adding it as an attachment to a wiki page, seems oddly quaint. Why would you send copies of your document to a bunch of people, especially if you expected to get them back with comments? If you only invite these people to the single version of the document in Buzzword, you’ve dramatically simplified the process. And, in doing this with Buzzword, you’ve evolved the application area formerly known as “word processing”.
To demonstrate how easy this is – there are still many Buzzword users who, to our dismay, haven’t fully evolved to this new form of sharing – I’ve created a simple three-minute tutorial to help you get oriented.
Give it a shot: it will change the way you write.