Open Thread: IM, what is it good for?

Yesterday, for once I decided to shut off my instant messaging client and see if I could live without it. It was a drastic move, because these are drastic times. Over last few weeks, despite what I did, I found myself being constantly interrupted by the IM pop-ups. People either sending me tips, or my team alerting me to their posts, or some people who just wanted to chit-chat.

It was the casual chit chat which started to grate on me. In fact, the tool which was supposed to replace the telephone, and help keep casual chats to a bare minimum has become a massive time suck. It is cutting into productivity, and also is affecting my general disposition. Let me explain – I am a fairly social person, and feel that it is rude not to answer someone’s IM message. But when the messages pop-up every few seconds, it became impossible to deal with them.

Shutting down the IM client for a day might be fine, but it is not a permanent solution. Is there a way to better manage IM communications and deal with IM’s every day annoyances? I have some ideas, but since I have not tried them out, I would rather wait and listen to what folks like yourself have to say.

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