This was in response by reader yusoshi to my post on Conversation Overload, I dragged it out of the comments section because because it is well written and adds to the conversation (!)
"I think Tom really hits the nail on the head with this article. His description of the paranoia surrounding 'conversation overload' resonates strongly with my own experiences.
I see two important issues; valuing conversation and managing conversation. I work in the creative arena and am absolutely aware of the value of conversation (both locally and globally) to the creative process. Any technology that facilitates high quality conversation is therefore a positive help and anything that prohibits the sharing of ideas (like prohibitive I.P. legislation, censorship or spam-like overload) is a negative. However, the more we value conversation and treat it as a crucial part of our everyday work, the more we must find ways of managing the process.
I find it interesting to see how I use different methods of communication for different purposes. Face-to-face is by far the most valuable method of sharing ideas, especially when there is a need for exposing mistakes and 'blind-alleys' which often get filtered out of formal, remote conversations. However, face-to-face is massively time consuming and while the value of it can increase with structured, and 'steered' conversation, sometimes it's just important to 'shoot the breeze' and go way off-topic. Good conversations take time and effort.
For me, IM has proved to be far more useful than email for the transfer of information that requires immediate feedback. It makes email more of a 'broadcast mechanism' that's just slightly below blogging in it's effectiveness, although having recently switched to Gmail I have to say I really like the 'conversations' approach and the ability to wipe everything out of your inbox. A clear, blank screen is like a breath of fresh air.
Having been glued to a cellphone for about 20 years, I am now taking a different approach to voice telecoms. My cellphone is a now a network device for information and occasional location/meeting liaison - I use it as sparingly as possible for voice and am very happy to turn it off whenever I want. SMS just annoys me now, but I'm not sure why - maybe it's the clumsy interface. As I live in Tokyo, but work around the world, the most valuable tool for me is VoIP - and because of time-zone issues, presence awareness is an essential tool. Almost all my voice and video calls are free now - I'm just frustrated that my handheld device isn't ubiquitously connected to Wifi and running iChat, Skype or Gizmo - when that happens I'll be dumping my cellphone for good.
So for me, it's Face-to-face, IM, Blog/email and free voice. Fax has gone the way of Telex and 1200/75 modems with acoustic cups - ah! the good old days!"
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Here is the original post and the comment.