Mar 27 2009

Tweets, SMS, IM, Email, Phone, and Status – Connectivity Overload

Jamie Barrows

If you live within the US and AT&T’s coverage area, you have probably heard a radio commercial that is running right now. It depicts a fictional family with a father, who is nervous about the high costs of text messages, complaining to his wife about their son’s texting habits. The son is attempting to reach a record of 3000 text messages a day(I think, it might be per week). The commercial is advertising AT&T’s monthly unlimited texting plan. The message being that with an unlimited texting plan you wouldn’t need to worry about how many texts you receive or send.

The commercial got me thinking about how much we use current technology to communicate and how overloaded we (I mean me) are. I’m having serious trouble keeping up with all the communication outputs I currently use. And so I decided to catalog and list all of my direct communication outputs.
Here goes:

  • Twitter – Anywhere from 10-20 updates and responses a day. I’m not even going to try to count the incoming feeds from those I follow. I feed my twitter updates directly into Facebook and FreindFeed. So while those get updated and I do occasionally have to respond to people on those systems, I kind of lump them into the same category as the Twitter updates.
  • SMS Texts – About 15 outgoing and 30 incoming a day
  • Emails -I get 30-40 emails to my personal account a day. I send anywhere from 10-15. A lot of those emails are ones that fall in the gray area of “not spam, but not really anything I want either.” But even if I don’t really want the email, I still have to look at it and see what it is. Work, I get about 20-30 a day and send 5-10. That number is steadily increasing as my responsibilities expand and as more people get to know who I am and what I do at the company.
  • Phone Calls – 10-15 calls a day. Most are short(less than 15 minutes), but a few(family members, fiance, etc.) can last an hour or two.
  • IM (MSN, Gtalk, AIM) – I use IM at work(and at home) for interoffice communication. So I have it running pretty much whenever my computer is on. Anywhere from 5-10 conversations a day will happen on IM. Most of those are short, but they still have a noticeable affect on my day.

Oh, and did I mention that all of the communication channels I mentioned above come directly to my phone as well. The only one that doesn’t show up on my phone is the IM one. And that is just because Apple hasn’t gotten around to implementing a good “push” protocol for third party developers. Once they do, I’m sure that one will be on my phone as well.

So there you have my two way communications areas. And if you are thinking that is a lot, you should see my incoming RSS feeds. I have a ton of subscriptions to different news and blog feeds. And I regularly comment on those articles and often share them with my friends via twitter or email.

So it’s no wonder that I feel overloaded with connectivity these days. And I’m not even sure that I really need any of these communication tools. But at the same time I’m not sure I want to give any of them up. So I’ll probably keep struggling through and keep trying to keep up. Though keep in mind, if you send me a message and I don’t respond. It’s not that I didn’t want to, it’s probably that your message just got lost in the jumble of all the others. lol

Mar 10 2009

Finding things Out

Jamie Barrows


I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
Franklin P. Adams

Read the above quote the other day and thought it was particularly true in the Internet Age. How often do you go online to find a bit of info, only to learn 10 different things that you weren’t even looking for?

I know it works that way for me.