Josh's INET independent study, Spring 2006

My semester-long journal guiding all my readers through the independent study I am doing as part of the Internet Studies minor with Professor Hickey at Brandeis.

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Location: Waltham, Massachusetts, United States

February 07, 2006

IMing in the Workplace

Interaction and Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action

This article discusses how Instant Messaging has made its way into the workplace and the ways in which it is used there as well. IMing provides a way for co-workers to communicate informally without worrying about their voice over the phone or their grammar in an email. One worker that the authors interviewed said, "I use email more like the adult thing. IM is more the fun thing."

One of the main reasons people have started to IM one another in the workplace is that it is much quicker than email and even phone conversations. While calling someone on the phone can potentially lead to lengthier conversations, IMing helps people get right to the point. People may even respond faster to IMs simply because they are a lot more visible on the computer screen since a window pops up. A message can be replied to quicker this way rather than having to read through a whole email or listen to an entire voicemail.

Instant Messaging at work also serves as a way to take a little break from the busy work day. Occassionally, people will IM their friends and family throughout the day just to check in or say hi. People still IM their co-workers during the day to arrange meetings and lunch breaks together too, though. In an office set up with many cubicles near each other, two people talking over everyone else could be very annoying, so IMing is also a way to avoid disturbing other people in the office.

There is a good chance that people can multitask while they IM at work too. Rather than trying to pick up the phone while meeting with someone face-to-face, IMing allows workers to get multiple things accomplished simultaneously. If a more formal conversation is necessary, an initial IM be a way to determine someone's availability in order to speak with him/her on the phone. Basically, Instant Messaging in the workplace can be used for quick questions and clarifications, scheduling, arranging impromptu social meetings, and keeping in touch with friends and family.

2 Comments:

Blogger Timothy J Hickey said...

You might find the following paper interesting:

http://citeseer.csail.mit.edu/719256.html

It is about using IM to enhance the buyer/seller relationship online.

11:59 AM  
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