A girlfriend and I were laughing this morning about a friend of hers who had to stop twittering due to “performance anxiety”. He felt he had to constantly be tweeting entertaining updates (this cracked me up because I feel absolutely no pressure to tweet or read twitter). I asked my friend what stressed her out and she said every time she pops open her computer she gets multiple chat requests from Skype, Facebook, Yahoo, etc, and can’t even figure out which is which (that’s why I don’t IM anymore). My family is most consumed by email, forever trying to tread above water in their inboxes (email doesn’t get to me; I just clean out my inboxes before I get to eat my oatmeal and peanut butter every morning). As for ME, nothing stresses me like text messages that require a response of much more than “y” or “n”. When I get texts asking open ended questions like “how’s everything going?” I generally can’t do an immediate, thoughtful response on the iPhone keyboard and then I stress I’m going to forget to respond (unlike email, where I can type longer responses fast and messages rarely escape my inbox unanswered in less than 24 hours).
I find it fascinating to watch how people adopt some technologies, really embracing the way they improve their lives, and freak out about others. So what can IT organizations do to help their businesses improve their efficiency at work when different people react so differently to which technologies are helpful or frustrating? Unfortunately, the answer now, especially with the communications tools mentioned above, is providing options, and all the options are what is stressing many. But different teams, different relationships will find different ways of working together effectively. It is more important than ever to talk about how we communicate best. The people I’m closest with personally and professionally know how to communicate much better using today’s mediums, but that’s because we’ve talked about it or figured it out through lots of trial and error. We just can’t assume everyone will react similarly to new technology … And that may be the most important consideration for IT organizations rolling out any kind of technology.