“Don’t call it a comeback!”
It may come as some surprise to you but I am a bit of a Science Fiction lover. Not a fanatic, mind you – more like an aficionado. Same with certain flavors of Hip Hop, though, so how’s that for stereotypes?
I’ve been a Google Calendar user for years now – and I’ve stuck through it all thick and thin. I’ve also (a bit begrudgingly) used Outlook regularly as darn near every office I’ve ever set foot in leans on it heavily.
Over the years, I’ve installed scripts, apps, and plugins to get my calendar data from Outlook to Google and back again – trying to also fold my phone calendar into the mix nearly drove me mad until I finally broke down and bought an iPhone.
I’ve managed projects via Outlook and http://zoho.com as well, with great success – but to date, no configuration has been perfect and most have led to dropped meetings, missed events, and more than a handful of tardy arrivals. http://tungle.me seeks to solve all that in a way that has exploded into my attention, by tapping into my Science Fiction aficionado’s sense of past, present, and future and wrapping it all up in a neat little bow of a manifesto, requisite fare for any social change these days and seemingly much less of a bad word than when I was growing up – yet “mission statement” would have somehow seemed lack luster. But will this manifesto be enough to reboot what is probably the world’s oldest office supply? The proof is in the pudding, as they say. So far, I must admit that the trail they are on in terms of usability is an excellent one.
Outlook is great for the sort of back and forth that often needs to happen in an office environment regarding meetings. Yet problems are what happens if the person you are scheduling with does not use Outlook. This is not always a desirable way to start a back and forth (though Microsoft has come a long way in that regard as well.) This same sort of issue always seems to plague any technology that Google introduces – if everyone else isn’t using it, it somehow falls short of useful (*cough* googleWAVE *cough*.)
Tungle, however, has not only made some good strides at solving these kinds of user experience issues, they have taken their aim to the next level by inviting some very bright people in to participate in the greater conversation of how the calendar is waaaaaaaay overdue for a reboot. Enter http://calendarofthefuture.com/
My science fiction side kicks in again and says, hold on – there are countless cultures out there and the new real time global information society had better not be trying to homogenize them by making them all use one calendar… That could bring about World War Three!
A harmless office supply, you ask? How could this harmless little time saver possibly cause conflict of that scale? While it’s a bit abrupt and far flung to go saying a global calendar could cause upheaval, there is some very important stuff to look at here. As we approach Rosh Hashanah and the end of Ramadhan, it is not difficult to see that culture and calendar are often deeply intertwined. Just looking at the history of the Gregorian calendar in general should be food enough for thoughts of a need to handle questions of “The Calendar of the FUTURE (*echo* Future….future…) with a certain amount of respect for its gravitas as a cultural identifier.
Let me be clear – I’m not saying “let’s don’t talk about this.” I’m saying “Yes! Let’s talk about this – but let’s be careful as we do so.” Bringing some great minds into this equation is good sense, but we need to broaden the cultural considerations at stake if we truly are interested in re-defining what it means to calendar across cultures and not just using “calendar as reboot” in a “dot com bubble, VC money chasing, next big thing headline grabbing sort of way.” I’m just sayin…
If you’d like to discuss any of the above with me – feel free to Tungle me: