Showing items tagged with "information overload" - 3 found.

Articles and Blogs of Note August 2016

Posted Monday August 1st, 2016, 8:36 pm by

These four themes dominated the press and social media over the last few weeks, what to and not to put in an email, the Clinton email scandal, our digital habits and whether or not email is dying.Typewritter

  1.  Bad day at work? Don’t say it by email. Its no secret that most companies have the ability (and authority) to monitor what you say in an email. Few do so unless they have a reason. Banks are always on the look out for early fraud indicators and email content is one. So it was not surprising that phrases like ‘I am not happy’ and ‘I’ll take care of it’ are picked up by banks like Goldman Sachs. The moral, be on your guard when including emotional feelings into a business email. They are best kept for either your personal email account or social media. Click here more.
  2. Clinton Email-gate. For those not aware, the gist is that Hilary Clinton used a personal email account to send emails relating to US Government business. Click here for more details and lessons we can all learn from this on-going saga. Although it might be tempting to forward emails from work to home, the bottom line is don’t, as you may put your career at risk. Even though Clinton has been cleared of a major security break the saga continues to dog her Presidential campaign.
  3. Our digital habits. More than 29% of American’s would rather give up sex than their smart phone for a week! These are the findings on how smartphones now dominate many people’s life and especially Millenials who feel under great pressure to respond immediately to messages. Although conducted in America and by a software developer (Delvv) there are some useful insights and especially for those interested in the generation gap. For example, only 68% feel phubbing is OK and perhaps not surprisingly those who are more anxious and less happy often expect a faster response than those of the opposite disposition. (Phubbing – snubbing someone you are with physically in favour of checking your phone eg having coffee.)  Click here for more.
  4. Is email heading towards extinction? In a bold attempt to reduce email overload, quite a few organisations are turning to alternatives for internal email. Atos led the way about two years ago, although the value of the project has yet to be justified. Now others too are trying to ban all internal emails. Whether or not this will solve the problem or merely introduce another form of digital information overload remains to be seen. Click here for more about this approach to reducing corporate email overload.



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Books on the bedside table

Posted Friday February 13th, 2015, 7:09 pm by

Books of Note

Books of Note

The last few months have been spent catching up with the backlog from November and December especially the Innovators by Walter Isaacson.   In addition to a digital history lesson, it contains many lessons in how to manage technology innovation and the people associated with it.  This month is a mix of new and old books which warrant mention.

New Books

  1.  The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin.  This is perhaps my book of the year.  Have you found yourself unable to make a decision because of the choice of options, for example buying breakfast cereal, a fibre tip pen etc? Choice is good as it provides a competitive environment, but it is also creating massive information overload. Levitin’s main proposition is that mobile devices are shrinking our brain power because they offer so many distractions.   As a result we find ourselves unable to focus and through acute information overload.  Levitin offers an insight to how our brains function and why email addiction is so prevalent.  Through case histories he offers some practical advise to improve help us regain our power to think strategically and improve our performance.
  2. It’s Complicated – the social lives of networked teens by Danah Boyd.  Do you want to understand the digital world  through the eyes of the millenials and for that matter your own children? What attracts them on-line and what turns them off?  This book provides some answers and a useful insight in to the on-line behaviour of the youth of today.

Old Books

For a client assignment, I recently re-read two classics on change management.  Both are short and written over ten years ago.  However, the underlying themes and guidance on why and how to change still resonate.  Indeed they feel even more current in today’s world where the pace of change is now so fast that if you take a month off you might find you need to re-skill or worse still extinct.

  1. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.  Written as a parable – it’s very amusing and thought provoking about the need to let go and move on, otherwise you might find ‘you become extinct’.
  2. Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber.  Similarly written as a fable this time about penguins.  It has a useful eight step change management plan and an underlying theme of reverse mentoring.

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If we all hate coping with email, how come it’s still here? Guest post from Nathan Zeldes

Posted Monday November 12th, 2012, 6:13 pm by

How the shape of the earth dictates email’s longevity

Nathan Zeldes, Nov. 4, 2012

Email was invented in 1971, with a message crossing from one end of a room to the other via ARPANET, and has gone on to become a major presence in the life of every knowledge worker on the planet. We devote to it 20 hours a week, complaining endlessly about the overload and the stress. And yet – despite the availability of many more modern tools like IM and various Social Media, email is still here, based on the same paradigm it had 41 years ago. In fact, when Google introduced Wave, that exuberantly media-rich social messaging platform, they said it’s time to reinvent email to match the 21st century; but Wave has since followed the dodo and email is still here.

I’d like to suggest one reason for this seeming paradox – an attribute of email that is mostly absent in the tools seeking to replace it, and which represents a deep advantage for many users.

This relates to the fact that the earth is still (with all due respect to Thomas Friedman) round. In a globalized economy, this means that some of the people you must communicate with will be asleep when you have something to tell them or ask of them. And there’s more – cultural diversity ensures that holidays and weekends vary widely, so much so that Prof. Erran Carmel of American University has found that only about a quarter of the workdays in a year are common to all the countries where a large corporation may run its business. In this messy reality, email shines for its primary attribute: it is asynchronous. It is a messaging platform where messages arrive, accumulate, and persist until read. No matter whether your recipient is asleep, celebrating a local holiday, or on vacation, they’ll get your message when they return to their work.

I remember this aspect well from the eighties, when I was first exposed to email. Working in Israel for an American company, email allowed me to correspond with my US coworkers with a “guaranteed next day response”. The guarantee has since evaporated, alas, due to email overload, but the basic concept has remained: you send the mail out in your daytime, when the other fellow’s asleep, and you get a reply when you’re awake some other day. For global distributed teams, email solves one major issue caused by our spherical home world – it empowers members to work together without staying awake at all hours. Like the Fax machine, its extreme usefulness is keeping it alive.

True, Gen Y and Gen Z folks have different habits than their elders, and they bring with them from school a preference for Facebook and SMS as primary communication channels; but then, their life as students requires no participation in hectic global teams. I suspect that once they enter the enterprise they will retain Facebook as a social tool and even use it to good advantage for some work activity, but will stick to email for most of their globally oriented team interaction.

The challenge for us who combat Information Overload is therefore to help organizations and individuals use introduce some email best practice strategies to allow us to manage email in better, more effective, less stressing ways; because – unless someone finally invents a planet-flattener of some sort –  email rules, it isn’t going away anytime soon!

Nathan Zeldes, 12 November 2012

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