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March 28, 2006

AssnHack #5: Fast Minutes

Here's the fifth installment of a little meme I have going called AssnHacks, which are time and effort saving tricks I use to make association management a little easier.

An earlier AssnHack extolled the awesomeness of as an excellent tool for collaborating on documents. It's great for groups working on any kind of text, but it's not ideal if you have a bunch of people on a conference call who would like to view changes being made to a document in real time.

Well, what if you and your pals want to work on a text document at the same time from multiple locations?

A service I recently learned about called is the way to go. Part of the family of wikis and other Web 2.0 tools, JotLive allows you to collaborate on documents with multiple others in real time, with no software to download. Check out their screenshots to get a flavor for what JotLive does.

I see tremendous potential in this service for the chore of taking meeting minutes. For example, if you work in a Robert's Rules environment, so much time gets wasted crafting motions to be phrased exactly right. Using JotLive, participants can view the motion as it's being recorded. The person making the motion can give the recorder real-time feedback on the phrasing of the motion (or even type it his/herself). Other participants don't have to wait until the recorder finishes taking down the motion and reads it back before they can start thinking about it and potentially offering amendments.

JotLive would work tremendously for committees and boards that meet via conference call, but I see no reason why it couldn't be used with participants who are physically seated around the boardroom table and equipped with laptops.

Applications like this were formerly the exclusive territory of Microsoft Live Meeting. JotLive can't do everything that Live Meeting does, but it's amazing the kinds of Web services programmers are able to create with AJAX and COMET.

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