Fives rules of IM

Stowe Boyd sketched an interesting set of cardinal rules about IM uses:

The social aspects of real time life will swamp any specific technology's impacts. I believe in tools, but effective application requires changes in behavior. For example, effective use of IM in groups means people must adopt the five cardinal rules of IM which I tend to agree with:

  • Turn on your IM client, and leave it on. (The Turn It On rule).
  • Change your IM state as your state changes. (The Coffee Break rule.)
  • It is not impolite to ping people. (The Knock-Knock rule.)
  • It is not impolite to ignore people. (The I'm Busy rule.)
  • Try IM first. (The IM First rule.)

Moreover, a good paper about it is The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace By Ellen Isaacs, Alan Walendowski, Steve Whittaker, Diane J. Schiano & Candace Kamm:

Current perceptions of Instant Messaging (IM) use are based primarily on self-report studies. We logged thousands of (mostly) workplace IM conversations and evaluated their conversational characteristics and functions. Contrary to prior research, we found that the primary use of workplace IM was for complex work discussions. Only 28% of conversations were simple, single-purpose interactions and only 31% were about scheduling or coordination. Moreover, people rarely switched from IM to another medium when the conversation got complex. We found evidence of two distinct styles of use. Heavy IM users and frequent IM partners mainly used it to work together: to discuss a broad range of topics via many fast-paced interactions per day, each with many short turns and much threading and multitasking. Light users and infrequent pairs mainly used IM to coordinate: for scheduling, via fewer conversations per day that were shorter, slower-paced with less threading and multitasking.

Why do I blog this? this is not my research but since I am an active IM users, it's sometimes interesting to see how people reflect on IM practices.