We have an officially sanctioned Yahoo IM wannabe instant messaging system at work. That we could just as easily use the real thing for non-sensitive, unclassified communication isn’t really the issue. Or maybe it’s just beside the point. It’s resisting the natural temptation to plaster it with field of lmao, wtf, and stfu that gives me the most trouble. Even sitting here with a tie (something I swore I wasn’t going to do again, btw) doesn’t quite give me a subconscious nudge I need to remember that I’m not txting with someone or fiddling around on Google chat, but that I’m actually supposed to be some kind of professional communication tool. So yeah, I guess you could say I have a level of discomfort with the official IM.
As much as I love my tech, I’m not sure I get the real value added here. Was someone not getting back to you fast enough with email or do you just think the flashing blue box in the task bar is harder to ignore than the unopened envelope in Outlook? I’m sure there was a great reason that you needed this capability, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it was. In the meantime, I’ll be busy copyediting every message I send trying to make sure it doesn’t read like it was written by a 13 year old girl.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.