[iDC] Online silence and ?infomania? (Yoram Kalman)

Eugenio Tisselli cubo23 at motorhueso.net
Wed Aug 29 17:26:56 UTC 2007

Hi Yoram,

Silence and email communication is a great topic. Every people I know  
has his/her own specific relation with email, it is hard for me to  
think of a shared pattern of usage, at least among my peers.
I never reply to email on weekends, unless it's something really  
REALLY urgent. I have worked as a freelancer for some time now, and  
from the beginning I realized that people tended to assume that I  
would always be available. At one point, I effectively ended up  
working seven days a week! I had to do something, so I just stopped  
replying on weekends and holidays. Monday became my big email day. I  
never said a word about this to my contacts, yet they just got it, and  
silently adapted to my new pattern. I guess that everybody I work with  
knows now that it's useless to get me before Monday comes...

Good luck with your PhD!

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>    1. Online silence and ?infomania? (Yoram Kalman)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 16:37:03 +0300
> From: Yoram Kalman <Yoram.Kalman at gmail.com>
> Subject: [iDC] Online silence and ?infomania?
> To: iDC at mailman.thing.net
> Message-ID: <46D424FF.9080607 at gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
> Hi,
> In my first posting to this fascinating group, I would like to introduce
> myself and my research interests, as well as suggest a topic for
> discussion. I am a PhD student researching ?online silence? at the
> Center for the Research of the Information Society at The University of
> Haifa. I am trying to define what online silence is, to understand what
> causes online silence, and to explore the consequences of online
> silence. In case you are wondering what I mean by online silence, the
> best example is a situation in which you send an email, expect an
> answer, and then days and days go by, and you do not receive an answer.
> Ever occurred to you?  J
> One of my findings is that most email responses come very quickly, quite
> often within a few hours, and that emails that are not answered within a
> few days, are quite likely never to receive a response. I also found
> that quite many of the cases of online silence reported by people, are
> cases in which people intended to respond but did not do so immediately,
> and this delay eventually turned into silence.
> In my research I speculate quite a lot about the reasons for this
> asymmetric distribution of response times, and a recent paper published
> in First Monday (link below) made me question the implications of this
> asymmetry. I would be very interested in getting some perspectives from
> this group about these implications. The paper focuses on ?Infomania?
> and describes the ever increasing pressure exerted on knowledge workers
> who are trying to cope with an ever growing information (over)load, and
> with the constant increase in frequency and obtrusiveness of
> interruptions afforded by always-on, always-next-to-us communication
> devices. Under these circumstances of an ever present flood of messages,
> is it any wonder that we either provide an immediate answer, or hardly
> respond at all?
> Link to article: http://snipurl.com/zeldes
> What I would like to do with the help of this group is to peek into the
> future, and ask together with you a question about Infomania, and about
> our increasing inability to respond to all of the messages we initially
> intend to respond to. Are these temporary phenomena, or are they here to
> stay? If online silence is a result of our inability to cope with
> information overload and interruptions, what might improve this
> situation? Will the solution come from culture? From technology? From a
> change in the way our brains are wired? All of the above? None of the
> above? Is this the first time humanity is facing such a challenge? Are
> there important lessons from the past?
> Obviously, if you have other questions, comments or interesting
> anecdotes about online silence, please send them too.
> Thanks!
> Yoram
> --
> Yoram Kalman
> Tel: +972 3 950 7340
> Cell: +972 54 574 7375
> www.kalmans.com
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> End of iDC Digest, Vol 34, Issue 34
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