It was bound to happen. Those of us with kids of a certain age (teens, young adults, Gen-Yers/Millennials, and even tweens) already know that if we want them to hear us and receive our message, we need to IM or text it. Send them an email? It might join hundreds or thousands of unread emails in their overflowing digital in-boxes… Leave them a voicemail? Forget it. It will sit unheard for days on end… For effective communications other than face-to-face, it’s down to the immediacy of an IM or text message via our smartphones.
Of no surprise, then, is the carryover to the corporate world. According to the December 2011 issue of Human Resource Executive, in a survey conducted of 1,400 Chief Information Officers of nationwide companies, “extinction may soon be the calling for the once-revolutionary mode of communication” (email). Wow! I remember some 25 years ago (no laughing allowed) sitting in my office at Digital Equipment Corporation and using DEC’s internal email system to communicate with my colleagues. That was the same era in which there were real secretaries that answered the telephone–and recorded my messages on pink slips of carbonless paper.
Real-time technologies in the form of IMing tools and text messaging certainly allow for immediacy. But they’re less than ideal — by far — for communicating detail. Time will tell how technology adapts to the needs of the workplace, being influenced by the newest generation of workers, while still enabling productivity and clarity.
– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage
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