Stop IMing Me

Finding the Holy Grail of Unified Communications
 
We all have our peculiar ways of working and mine is e-mail centric. It is precisely this love of e-mail that enables me to really find a product like SpinmyVmail useful as it converts my voicemail to e-mail.
 
I am signed up for an IM client or two but I don’t use them that often. I do find them useful when I need to get a quick answer or as a means to schedule a quick conference call.
 
But IM is a pain for me and I wonder if I am alone.
 
The reason I don’t like it is the fact that what other people want is not always my highest priority at the moment. Sometimes I would like to respond to a request at night, on a weekend or on a plane.
 
IM does not allow me to easily accomplish the above. Sure I can respond to the IM on a weekend but if the person I am IMing is not online then I feel somehow incomplete.
 
Worse, am I supposed to leave 10 IM windows open on my screen until I answer each? What if I reboot?
 
If this isnt bad enough, the sending of attachments through IM without prior permission should be outlawed. People have started to send me all sorts of things in this fashion and I hate it. Why? I just can’t keep track of files stored somewhere on my computer in a downloaded folder.
 
E-mail for me is also a to do list and often, if it isnt in my e-mail it doesn’t get done.
 
E-mail makes more sense to me as a way to send files as I can search for the files later and easily find them in a single place. I don’t need to scour my hard disk to find a file whose name I can’t even recall.
 
In essence I suppose it boils down to how you use the tools you are given and more importantly does the person you are IMing really care to IM back? If you discover a person’s IM address (this seems to be getting easier and easier to do) you should ask them if it is ok to use IM or if they prefer voice or e-mail.
 
I have this nightmare that a site like LinkedIn will soon have an IM client allowing everyone in my network to IM me at will. This has happened with Gmail already and if I check a simple e-mail in Gmail (something I do not do often) I seem to get mobbed in an instant. I hope IM does not become the primary method of electronic communication but I get he feeling the younger generation is more IM centric than I will ever be and even if I am not a fan of instant messaging I will have no choice to give in – sooner or later.
 
Hopefully as the concept of unified communications proliferates I will be able to connect to IM through my e-mail allowing me to enjoy messaging in the mode I prefer while the person communicating with me does the same. If this is not the holy grail of unified communications, perhaps it should be.

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