Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Some thoughts on the Mike Rhodin town hall

Graham Chastney picked up my notes from Mike Rhodin's town hall yesterday and added some comments of his own around them, and in reading them it occured to me that in just trying to get the posting out there, I hadn't really added any of my own commentary in.  

One area in particular that Graham called out is the "What's your primary mode of communication" question, commenting that for him the answer is "it depends."  And as I just commented over on his site, I do in general agree with his take on it - that it does depend.  While I might participate in dozens of IM conversations during a day, it's still dwarfed by the 100-150 e-mails I will send and receive on any given day. I also agree that there is a right time and a wrong time for IM, (just like there's a right and wrong time for e-mail, a phone call, or for dropping into someone's office.)

I think the key distinction is that when I think "primary mode" of communication, Sametime is my go-to tool when I need a critical answer, when I have a quick question, or even when I want to have a discussion on something. And much of those critical situations do involve discussions, and are not things that are well suited to asynchronous e-mail exchanges.  And some of it may be the nature of the teams I'm on (and those of many IBMers (IBM does now equate to "I'm By Myself" much more than the old "I've Been Moved").  Many of my IM discussions are on topics that in a different work environment might have been things I'd pop into someone's office to discuss, or things that would get covered when I ran into someone in the cafeteria line.  But that's not the world I work in today, and IM is filling that void, or more importantly serving as the enabler for that kind of environment.