If you aren’t familiar with Interior Design Chat, it’s a Twitter chat that happens every Tuesday night at 6pm EST. A bunch of interior designers get together and chat live on Twitter using the hashtag #intdesignerchat. The chat is fast, like a cheetah with a rocket pack on its back fast. You need quick fingers and quick wit to keep up. It’s worth it though, the people you can meet are really interesting. The chat was started just about a year ago and has really blown up in the past year. People from literally every side of the planet participate. I heard a statistic that the chat is read by some 44,000 people.
After the live chat we met the next day at the Lightology showroom in downtown Chicago. Lightology is the worlds largest lighting showroom, and certainly makes lights look like artwork, not just utilitarian electrical to photon converters. While we were there, we were given a design challenge. We divided up into four teams, fired up Sketchup, and set about creating big kitchens in a small amount of time. Since we’re all members of Interior Design Chat, we naturally were all over the social media while we were designing.
As far as the technology goes, I am never satisfied with what is available, I always want the next thing, almost to a fault! I had been playing around for the past few months with join.me. join.me is a simple online meeting app. If WebEx or GoToMeeting were wearing suits, join.me would show up in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt. At first, you may not take it seriously because it doesn’t have all the “big boy” features like our suit wearing friends, but it does have one magical feature: Simplicity.
WebEx and GoToMeeting are great online meeting apps to use. They’ve got a ton of features that suit wearing, BMW driving business types will find extremely useful. With all that power comes complexity, and price.
How often have you been on the phone with someone, and you just wanted to show them your screen? With join.me you can do just that, and in a matter of seconds. All you do is go to join.me, click “Share” and a tiny little app fires up. It gives you a link that you can paste into an email, or a chat. Once the person on the other side clicks the link, within seconds they are seeing your screen. No complicated software installs, no signup, or configuration. Just instant screen sharing! It’s amazingly simple and you wouldn’t believe how fast it is. There is even a phone conference as part of it. The best part, its FREE! I use this service all the time when I am talking to clients about a design.
So what does this have anything do to with our design competition? Well, as we were designing, people were asking us questions about what we were doing on Twitter. Rather then answer them in 140 characters, I just fired up join.me and Tweeted a link! People from all over the world logged in to see what I was doing. In the course of a few hours, I had over 60 unique viewers watching me design live! Mind you, there was no planning, and no promotion of this. It was just a last minute thing I decided to do. Soon, I had each team in the room tweeting a link, and we had viewers from all over the place watching us create these kitchens. The level of engagement was amazing. People were using the live chat feature to ask questions, and even tweeting, and retweeting the link all over the place.
Maggie from the join.me team even stopped in to see what we were up to. I told her how pumped I was about this neat use of their software, and I asked her if she’d answer a few questions about it here in this post.
Q1> So join.me is free, but I also noticed that you have a paid version. What’s the difference between the two?
join.me pro is really for those who love join.me but need a little more. They might want to have their own personal URL, or the ability to schedule meetings in advance, or have a few presenters on the account. It’s as simple to use as join.me, but with a little extra. You can start your free two-week trial here.
Q2> So join.me is ridiculously simple to use, but would you have any tips for beginners?
I guess my tip would be like any other tip I’d give someone who is using a new service: Get your hands on it. Use it. Share your screen; view others. Check out how everything works. If you want, you could share between your computer and your mobile device (iOS or Android). The best part of join.me is the experience. You can also check out our blog if you want to dive deeper into some of the features.
Q3> Have you ever seen someone tweet what is on their screen like we did for the design competition?
I haven’t, but it’s a very cool way to use join.me. We have people who use join.me in all sorts of ways, like joining virtual book clubs, holding virtual “office hours” for students, reviewing projects and documents with colleagues - it’s really interesting to learn how join.me can fit into their lives.
For what I do on a day to day basis as a designer, WebEx and GoToMeeting are too complicated, and too expensive me. They do have their place though. join.me is so fast, and so easy to use it’s just amazing. If you’ve ever thought “I wish I could show what’s on my screen to someone else” in the easiest, fastest way possible, join.me is your app.