Can social networking tools free us from email?

The NYTimes has a piece by an IBM employ­ee who has large­ly freed him­self from email by con­scious­ly using what­ev­er social net­work­ing tool would be bet­ter at mov­ing the con­ver­sa­tion for­ward, whether it’s IM, wik­is, or even (gasp!) the tele­phone. This line stood out for me:

I have had con­tin­u­ing sup­port from my man­age­ment in this effort, because I’ve been able to prove how much more I can accom­plish by answer­ing a ques­tion, and post­ing it on a blog, for exam­ple, than I can by answer­ing the same ques­tion over and over. I still help peo­ple, but in a more open and col­lab­o­ra­tive fash­ion. Oth­er peo­ple can join in the dis­cus­sions — may­be they will have a bet­ter idea than mine. 

This is exact­ly how I try to describe the blog­ging phi­los­o­phy in the busi­ness world. Don’t think of the blog as anoth­er chore that needs to be added to your already over­whelmed to-do list. Instead, think about it as anoth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool so it becomes a seam­less part of your ongo­ing work. This will no only help work flow, but help give your blog an hon­esty and approach­a­bil­i­ty it wouldn’t have if you thought of it as sim­ply anoth­er mar­ket­ing piece.

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