Archive for August, 2010

The problem of Self-induced Interruptions

Posted on August 29th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Recently I was talking to a senior manager about the role of BlackBerry alerts in information overload. The guy was quite aware of the impact, and told me he had turned off all incoming-email alerts on his device. Smart move! Then he added that this move had limited effect because he was in the habit of checking the BlackBerry for new email every few minutes anyway. This is a prime example of self-induced interruptions. People in this day and age are so addicted to the flow of messaging that even absent external interrupts they simply interrupt themselves. This was borne.. Read more

Speed vs. Thought in email communications

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Given that knowledge workers receive many more emails daily than they can possibly process, it is small wonder that some emails never get a response (the phenomenon called Online Silence, which I’ve discussed before). Indeed, the research shows that if a message isn’t replied to in a day or so, it is likely never to be answered. There is, however, an interesting exception: messages that require an answer but also necessitate thought. A great example are requests for LinkedIn endorsements (also known as recommendations). The way it works, in my experience, is this: Jack asks his LinkedIn contact, Jill, to.. Read more

Six ways your email can reach the wrong eyes

Posted on August 18th, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

One mistake people often make is assuming the emails they send are private. All hell can break lose when an email is disclosed to unintended parties. There are many ways this can happen to a message (and Murphy’s laws will ensure it does, at the worst possible time). For instance: The recipient might forward it inappropriately. This is probably the most common occurrence. Sometimes it’s an act of pure idiocy, as when you send someone a personal comment about X and before you know it they send it to X or his colleagues. But often it’s indirect: the recipient forwards.. Read more

The Warm Fuzzy factor in communications

Posted on August 12th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

These days I make a living helping people avoid spending all night on processing their email overload, so it was with some amusement that I remembered how I used to spend my own nights communicating with people – but enjoying every minute of it! This was back when I was in my teens and twenties, and I had a ham radio station I’d built myself (of course). I’d stay up late at night (when shortwave reception tends to improve) trying to connect to as many other radio amateurs in distant lands as I could raise in my earphones. It was.. Read more

The demise of Google Wave

Posted on August 8th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

When Google announced Wave, that innovative Email / IM / Collaboration product, I’d found it very exciting. I was happy to see in it many concepts I’ve been awaiting for a long time, notably a very nicely done “threaded inbox” paradigm. Still, after playing with it a little I began to refer to it in my lectures on Information Overload as “The jury is still out on whether this will reduce the overload or increase it”. Well, the jury is back. A year later, Google announces it will phase out Wave. It just didn’t catch… It’s tempting to claim it.. Read more

The Dawn of the Blackberry Era

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Today RIM announced the BlackBerry Torch 9800, which is even more chock-full of amazing technology than the model before it, which was itself ahead of its predecessor, which was… This has been going on for a long time, but it reminds me that the sequence did have a beginning – yes, there was a first BlackBerry, which had perhaps appeared, fully formed, from the primordial chaos… I collect items from the History of Computing, and I have a sample of that earliest BlackBerry, the model 950, introduced in 1998, which you see in this photo. The interesting thing is that.. Read more