Instant Messaging for Introverts
This is an excellent article about the intrusiveness of modern “always on” communications tools, especially instant messaging. The author framed it as an introvert vs. extrovert problem, which I’m not sure is a correct assessment- to me it’s manners vs. rudeness. Some folks think because they have instant messaging it’s OK to be constantly interrupted, or to constantly interrupt other people for every trivial thing. Well, no, it’s not OK.
The author of this article, Joe Kissell, is a man after my own heart. He doesn’t care for instant messaging, and doesn’t have much use for cell phones either. Mr. Kissell writes:
“The introvert trait of not dealing well with interruptions comes into play in a couple of different ways with IM.”
Nobody, but nobody works efficiently with interruptions and juggling multiple tasks. Not mothers of multiple small children, not ER doctors, not computer geeks- nobody. They’re fooling themselves if they think they are. It’s fashionable these days to claim all manner of elite multi-tasking skills, and the ones who think they are so wonderful at it are not nearly as productive as the boring old-fashioned types who plug away at one task at a time, and who stop only when they get to a good stopping point. Too many people substitute endless pointless phone calls, texting, IM-ing, and emailing as substitutes for plain old knuckling down and getting their work done. They’re like teenagers going through the must-be-connected-to-friends-24×7 phase. I hate to break the news, but eventually the time comes to be a grownup.
“This is why I love email as a mode of communication. I get many dozens of messages every day, but I can answer them whenever I want.”
Metoo! And, like Mr, Kissell, I usually take time to respond carefully, and make several revisions before I hit “send”. I wish more email users would do that. I get tired of folks who can’t even read a whole message before replying, and ask stupid questions that are already answered. And then don’t bother to frame a coherent reply, but just dash off some stream-of-consciousness babble without spell-checking, proper capitalization and punctuation, and reasonable grammar. Even bloggers find excuses for not having basic competence in their native languages- they don’t get paid, so it’s ok to be sloppy and incoherent. Or they’re just so, so busy and important they don’t have time.
Then there’s the poor sods who are chained to their damned cell phones, and who are incapable of letting calls go to voicemail. It’s like a mental illness. I’m offended when I’m visiting with a friend who won’t shut the darned thing off while we’re together. That’s rude. They’re so sure it’s going to be vitally important- ha. In all the years we’ve had cell phones, it has yet to be vitally important. These are the same kinds of weirdos who leap out of the shower to answer the phone. I answer my phone when I jolly well feel like it, and am perfectly comfortable listening to it ring forlornly in the other room.
Mr. Kissell knows that the demands of some jobs require a lot of availability, and for those, IM, cell phones, and mobile messaging are useful. But for most people they’re just adult pacifiers. Time to shed the Binkys and grow up.