Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dealing with hyper-access

The FASTforward blog is a new site dedicated to a discussion of Enterprise 2.0 technologies. This morning there was a post on the problems being created by the hyper-access that these new technologies enable.

Escape from Blackberrry

Much of Enterprise 2.0 is about asynchronous communication. Blog, wikis, social bookmarking, et al provide common spaces to create, share, and archive information. RSS lets us decide what we get. The break through is transparency but one that make things more efficient and less of a burden. Here is a great story on what happens when asynchronous tools become real time. I think things could become overwhelming if everyone felt the need to be connected to all these great new tools real time, all the time. We might lose the control that these new tools give us over communication. [snip]
With RSS it could be worse as we could get updated through a mobile device on blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, as well as email. This is why I disliked IM and why I do not have a Blackberry. But I may be an extreme case. I even resisted cell phones for a while and usually leave mine off, except by prior arrangement with someone who needs to reach me. Now that I am no longer in a large consulting company, I do not have IM and I do not give out my cell phone number for business except on rare occasions. There are places for real time communication and there are times for asynchronous communication. We need to have our personal spaces and we need to be able to focus on what is happening right in front of us....

Of course, this song is nothing new. We‘ve heard about this for years. The problem is that it is accelerating, and it is going to continue to accelerate. Managing it is a skill. The reality is that you cannot allow hyper-access to everyone nor should you even try. My recommendation for getting a handle on it is to make a list, who has immediate access and who does not? If your list is larger than eight you need to prune it. Write it down.

Without this list you will be living a constant interruption. It‘s ugly. Yes it‘s middle school all over again. It‘s also the only way to survive. Now if you‘ve got any guts you‘ll do like the kids on MySpace and make your list public. Can we handle this much transparency in our work life?

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