IM Fast Update

Posted by Scott on Dec 10th, 2006

It’s been over two days since I started my week without instant messaging, and I’m definitely noticing the differences. Am I feeling more productive? Yes. I also feel I’m more efficiently focusing on whatever’s in front of me, whether it’s an e-mail, article, or code I’m reading. I think that’s a big plus, and it would easily be worth it at this point just to swear off IM forever if there were no downsides to this.

But there are downsides to it. I already feel disconnected from a lot of my friends whom I communicate over IM with regularly. Surprisingly, short chat sessions with them make up fairly meaningful connections I have with them. Often times we’re exchanging interesting URLs over IM. As a budding entrepreneur, this frequently revolves around product ideas or interesting market research that I find very useful. I’ve sent out a few of these kinds of updates via e-mail now, but no one is responding. I don’t blame them – IM is just too convenient for these types of exchanges. Share a link or an idea, and get feedback from someone in real time. There are also many social plans that get made over IM, and I’m wondering if I’ve already missed an opportunity to grab lunch or a beer with some of my friends.

I’m certainly going to continue this productivity experiment, but as of now I’m thinking when it’s over I am definitely going to continue using IM, but I may end up managing it a bit differently, such as limiting the time I’m on-line (my “Away” status is generally ignored by most poeple – they just see my user icon and fire off a message). Perhaps using something like Campfire would also be easier to contain from an interruption standpoint.

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