Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quoted - IM

ComputerWeekly.com in the U.K. is running this article, Messaging: Instant Profit, in which I share a thought on IM's place at work.

If my experience with Instant Messaging at home is any indicator, I'd just as soon turn it off. Let us reiterate the Golden Rule of IM once more: if you have something to say, feel free to say it, because IM is a wonderful way to close the distance. However, if you don't have anything real to say, then inane and repetitive messages - think four dozen variations on "Hey, how are you doing?" - do little to advance the cause of humankind.

Said he as he once again put MSN Messenger into Appear Offline mode so he could actually get a bit of work done.

Your turn:
What's your take on IM? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Discuss...


Angie said...

Messenger can be as rude as call waiting. I don't like feeling obligated to talk to people.

Moogie said...

It has it's good and bad I think. Personally, I'd rather talk on the phone. But, I've got some close friends in the UK who I do chat with, and that makes it not nearly so expensive.

Maddie said...

I agree with Angie, whenever this thing is on, and I see a friend come online, I feel obligated. If I sign off, now that they're online, it's like I'm avoiding them. If I stay on, it will give them an opportunity to start yapping. It's a lose lose situation.

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

I have moved into using IM as a short but sweet communication tool. However, there are others who not only will use 4 dozen ways to say "how R U?" but then get pissy when I don't reply immediately. We have spoken about this, and they still believe, that if I am online, and logged in, I need to be immediately responding, and not doing anything else. I had it at work, and block everyone, but those I want to speak with at the time. Unblocking is easy, if needed.

Jennie said...

I've gotten into the habit of immediately putting my away message up as soon as I sign on, so I'm not bombarded with 10 different conversations. I can only keep up with about 2, MAYBE 3, at a time.

John D Schultz said...

I am with moogie. I think it is both good and bad. I use it both for work and personal uses. Ninety-five pecent of the time, I am online with both MSN and Yahoo.

I find that I do not feel obligated to talk to people when they are online. It, however, is an easy method to have a quick conversation about something.

Those that I converse with understand that it might be upwards of an hour before I can reply to their comment and vice-versa. I do not take offense to the delay/no answer.

sharbean said...

I have many takes and opinions about IM at work. The range goes from extremely handy to annoying like I have never experienced annoying before. Rather than pollute your comments I will quickly list many situations where I have used IM in the past and the benefit / disadvantage of IM in these situations:

- Working in a building where staff were spread out amongst 12 floors. It was easy to send quick messages this way than to call (and get a busy signal) or visit. This also works well if you have people who work from home.

- During school (multimedia degree) and working on group projects it was easy to pass info, files and URLs back and forth from various home offices.

- When a relative disappeared and threatened to commit suicide the family communicated with each other via IM so we didn't search the same place twice.

- After giving my IM number to my relatives I could NEVER turn it on at work again because they all wanted to chat when I was working.

- I work for a small company now and IM is useless because everyone is on the same floor of a warehouse and it is easier to shout something out then IM.

As a project manager I am suspicious of IM because many people don't know how to use it effectively and worse, don't know how to turn it off when it needs to be off. Also, it has been my experience that when people use their general accounts at work it is used for gossip and this is a huge time eater.

My conclusion: the best "work" IM tool is effective if it is limited to work use and if the people using it know when to turn it off. Even better, the best IM tool is inside a closed network or a separate account is set up for work use only.

*Note - I now use Trillian but in the past have used ICQ, MSN, Windows Messaging (network specific), AOL AIM, and my cell phone.

- Sharlene (sharbean.ca)

jadedprimadonna said...

If I'm busy, I put up my away message. Now, I do have a couple of people on the list who will still message anyway, but I wait until I'm not busy to answer. I love IM for the sheer fact that I work in a very isolated part of this building, and I have little to no human contact most days. In addition, I've actually become much closer to a couple of friends just by chatting on IM. One friend and I even planned a trip to Paris, talking exclusively online. No long distance phone charges to do it. I think the positives outweight the negatives, but I do totally get annoyed by it sometimes.

Gina said...

I think that at work, it can and should be utilized for quick messages such as, "are you ready to go to room 412 for the meeting?" Long monologues do not belong on IM, better expressed with an email so that the person can have their leisure to respond, rather than thinking the person is sitting there waiting for an instant response for something that needs research/more thought.

As far as personal use, I have been annoyed by a person who kept IM'ing me as soon as I logged onto the computer. Oddly enough, I didn't even really know her. Apparently, once I changed my settings so that she would have to "knock", she got offended and stopped communicating with me altogether.

So, good and bad. It is handy to talk with people who are far away. As with anything that deals with people, everyone has their particular idea of what is acceptable use and what is not. Hard to sort that out sometimes.

And technology was supposed to make our lives simpler!

Ontario Emperor said...

For work purposes, it's not useful. My employer blocks external IMs, and only allows IM within the company. Normally, other communication methods work better (e-mail, phone, alphanumeric pager, and the revolutionary walking down the hall).

For home purposes, it's OK, although I only use it on a limited basis (primarily to catch up with other Yahoo! Hold-Em Poker players).

Christine said...

IM is nice on occasion - chat with a friend, quick question - that sort of thing. But most of the time when I'm on the computer I'm here because I'm busy with something, so most of the time I have mine turned off, to avoid interuptions. ;)

twenty something said...

Love it when I'm bored...hate it when I'm busy :)

Leah said...

Funny - i was asking the very same question on my blog just about the same time.

Between the two of us, we collected a healthy little set of IM rules of engagement - we shoudl go to D.C. and try for some legal support. $2 fine for starting an inane conversation, $3 for leaving a conversation without saying "bye"...We'd raise enough money to give every child a computer AND teach them how to use IM politely