Time out (please?)

What I really wanted to say (shout, really) was, “Please make it stop!” I am referring, of course, to the (seemingly) never-ending supply of new tools and applications that allow me to create, connect, comment, collaborate, etc etc.

Several years ago (not that many, really), I wrote a paper for an organization addressing the evolution of corporate communications from the interdepartmental memo, to e-mail, and the emergence of instant messaging, with a bit of voice mail thrown in. I was trying to help managers, who had always had a secretary to take dictation or decipher their hand-written notes, figure out how to use these new tools themselves. (They had no choice, as secretaries were slowly removed from the workforce.)

I can only imagine what that paper would look like if I tried to write it today. In addition to e-mail and IM, now we’ve got blogs and wikis, intranets and portals, social networking apps, and cell phones with text messaging, photo messaging, video messaging. Assuming an organization had a coherent information architecture and strategy, you would still be hard pressed to be able to explain all this to someone who didn’t just “get it.”

I have to admit that I kind of fall into that latter category. I’ve been messing around with blogs (with varying success) for over 5 years now, have set up and contributed to my fair share of other online sources like wikis and as a commenter to other blogs. But I’ve only recently really understood the value and, yes, appeal of text messaging and the ability to send photos and videos from anywhere on my phone. And, though I’ve recently signed up and started experimenting with Facebook, I’m still not quite sure exactly what to do with it. And don’t get me started with things like Twitter – as much as friends and others praise it, I just don’t get it.

One of the key questions I’m still not sure how to answer is: with all of these means of communications available with my friends, colleagues, and strangers that I’d like to get to know, what is the best way to actually communicate – E-mail? Facebook? Post a comment on their blog? Post to my blog about their blog? Update Twitter?

As if that isn’t enough, a recent post by Jack Vinson – commenting on a post by Amy Gahran – now has me thinking of another issue raised by all this: How do I keep track of it all? Fortunately for me, Jack provides some possible solutions to explore as I try to answer that question.

All of this is why I ask for a time out, to try to sort it all out and figure out what to do with it all. (Just kidding, of course, I really do love this stuff!)
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2 thoughts on “Time out (please?)

  1. Yay! I just received an invitation to be a Facebook friend with someone (apparently I had signed up at some stage already without remembering it). I looked at it and blanched. What, again? Fill in my data and preferences? Find a photo? Invite friends? Didn’t I do all this already with ICQ moons ago? And what about that Lens thing a few weeks ago? Or MySpace? Or BlogCatalog? Or LinkedIn? Last.fm? And I know I’m forgetting at least five others whose names escape me.

    Um, what’s the point? Until someone creates a meta ID filler, I’ve given up.

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