23 March 2016

Signal v. Noise: “Is group chat making you sweat?”

What we’ve learned is that group chat used sparingly in a few very specific situations makes a lot of sense. What makes a lot less sense is chat as the primary, default method of communication inside an organization. A slice, yes. The whole pie, no. All sorts of eventual bad happens when a company begins thinking one-line-at-a-time most of the time.

We’ve also seen strong evidence that the method and manner in which you choose to communicate has a major influence on how people feel at work. Frazzled, exhausted, and anxious? Or calm, cool, and collected? These aren’t just states of mind, they are conditions caused by the kinds of tools we use, and the kinds of behaviors those tools encourage.

Based on these discoveries, I’ve put together a list of the positive and negative impacts of group chat on an organization.

Jason Fried

The list contains 4 positives and 17(!) negatives – that should tell you all you need to know about the conclusion. I read another similar article just a couple of days apart that highlights similar problems with office chat tools by focusing on a single one: Slack, a favorite of Silicon Valley, the magic solution that should eventually replace everything from email to Microsoft Office to Twitter. I haven’t used it and, given how technologies come and fade so fast these days, it’s very likely I’ll never use it, but I can certainly see how being always-on for every trivial question from colleagues can be distracting and ultimately reduce your productivity instead of improving it.

Slack break-up
With you in my life, I’ve received exponentially more messages than I ever have before. And while it’s been awesome to have such a connection with you, it has been absolutely brutal on my productivity.

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