Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Are you Textperienced?

Perception is reality...Until, that is, someone reveals the prevailing perception as misconception.

A study in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communications by researchers at THE Ohio State University (not to be confused with any other buckeye-loving institution of higher learning) takes on perceptions about instant messaging and concludes--wait for it--IM'ing actually reduces workplace interruption!

You can certainly read the details for yourself but the summary of accounting is as follows: IM'ing enables efficiency in managing interruption.

IM seems to beget efficiency of communication by managing the interruptive nature of workplace communications more effectively. Unlike the often meandering conversations of phone and face to face, there is a built in governor in the more phyisically demanding fine motorskills of instant messaging. Combined with the option for synchronous or asynchronous timing, and the ability to detect one's presence on the network ("I'm away right now"), IM offers the potential for less time to be spent for the same messaging impact.

Some people prefer "management by walking around" or the idea of "casual collisions" in hallways and office spaces. But one study referenced in the research article indcated that "...workers spent an average of just 11 minutes on a task before being interrupted or moving on to a new task, and more than half the interruptions (57%) were unrelated to the task at hand (Mark, González, & Harris, 2005)."

In the always on information workplace, IM users may in fact have a productivity advantage. Consider it Innovative Messaging. Add a few smileys, and you have nearly all the emotion necessary ;)

For a gratuitous headline reference to innovative musical messaging, YouTube brings you, Jimi Hendrix--reincarnated as a right hander!

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