BRB...TTYL...CYA...YT?...NP...ILU...InMTG..."You're on Mute"*...
These are just some of the many acronyms and frequent chat slangs that many of us have grown accustomed to using in our various instant messaging/chat tools that we use for both personal and business needs. Wait, did I say business "needs"? Do we really need to type questions to people through our laptops, who often times are sitting within 50 feet of us? Lazy Americans. Speaking of lazy, I firmly believe that IM/Chat has led to serious reductions in productivity for many professionals. Despite the advantage of being able to communicate real time with anyone anywhere via a quick and easy tool ("instant messaging"), unfortunately what more often occurs is that people are having a simple "chat". I admit, I worked for a large consulting company for several years and IM was a means to communicate very quickly with clients / teammates / managers / subordinates as situations required...BUT, it was also an easy way for people to simply CHAT to people about non-work related subjects, or even gripe about situations regarding work. In our thousand-cube work infrastructure set-up these days, people generally have the decency to not just sit at their desk and talk on the phone with friends during the work day - the 18 people around their "cube" would hear them if they did. However, chatting on IM is a means for people to do the same thing without getting caught - co-workers and supervisors would just assume the suspect was simply discussing highly important professional information with an important client, right? I can remember "patiently" waiting for subordinates of mine to complete deliverables that were past due, and when approaching their cube to get an ETA, seeing 6 to 8 of those damn IM clouds blinking on their screen. When is the last time someome from my parents' generation (age range "50-70" since my dad will read this) spoke to 8 people at once when they were supposed to have something important completed for their boss???
I think companies should ban Instant Messaging in the workplace. A possible small increase in productivity with the tool is far outweighed by the wasted time that it causes. If something can wait more than 5 minutes, send an email....it provides a better historical tracking tool for conversations and information anyway. If you really need to speak to someone immediately, call them (phones still work!). Hey, get off your big American (most obese country in the world) butt and walk down to "bkthomas147"'s office and speak to him. Look him in the eye. Shake his hand. Let's work on those interpersonal skills that we've completely lost. That strange mumbo-jumbo of letters and numbers and an icon of a Yankees hat is actually a person with a dog and maybe some kids.
IM Acronym Defintions:
Be Right Back
Talk To You Later
I Love You
In a Meeting
*And my favorite of all is not an acronym, but a phrase that articulates my position perfectly - "You're on mute" is what a fellow IMer will tell you in Instant Messaging if she knows you are trying to talk in a conference call, but no one can hear you because you have your phone set to mute....probably because you're "busy" at your desk doing everything but paying attention to the meeting you are supposed to participate in...you have 8 chat windows open, you're talking to the guy in the cube next to you, all the while the meeting is taking place 50 feet away from you in a conference room full of human beings that you might not have even met.....how would you know, you've been too busy arguing with your friend about which sushi restaurant to go to on Friday night!