Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thinking out of the in-box

Luis Suarez works for IBM and I've been following his experiment to reduce his email through his weblog. I was a little sceptical about his efforts. I don't have any problem keeping up with my mails I see it as communication concerning the tasks I'm working on with other people. If people have problems with their mails, they probably have problems with setting the boundaries of their tasks too. I felt he was blaming the medium email for the mailculture, like blaming the telephone for the fact that many people are calling you. I thought the solution would be in becoming better at deleting non-relevant mails and knowing when to use other means, like telephone or walking by. But then it is true that there is a real problem. I have heard so many people complain about email. They tell me for instance that they still have 150 mails to 'work through'. Or that working at home is problematic because these people start sending so many mails. Email seems to de-energize many professionals and makes people feel not in control of their work. When I worked for an organization I had more mails, which made it hard to wait a few days in checking your mail. Now that I'm freelancing, it seems easier to control my mail.

So I was happy to see Luis Suarez presenting on this topic in a 9-minutes presentation in a youtube video, and I get his point. Luis tells us basically: Most of the people get over 30-50 mails per day, taking about 2-3 hours per day spent on emailing. Mails are not transparent- there is a political game around bcc's and cc's. When you spend the same amount of time on social media like twitter, it is more supportive of a colleagial teamspirit. It sounds like an important difference. Be in control of your online communication, rather than be controlled by it.

You can watch the video here, unfortunately he doesn't explain how he did it, but you can get that information from his blog.

This seems an excellent entry point to get people interested in social media in organizations!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've seen how my husband got less e-mail since he quit his job and is now an independant consultant. I have no problem at all with managing my e-mail. So I guess having 'close' colleagues (aka people that are formally tied to you through an organisation) are the biggest factor in filling up your inbox.

That said, you, me, my husband, we're all already communicating through different social media channels. And with a lot of people that have adopted those tools as well (my husband's colleagues didn't!) ;-)