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Instant Messaging

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Outline What is IM? IM as groupware. Instant Messaging. by Kimberly Tee CPSC 781 University of Calgary. Readings. Nardi, B. A., Whittaker, S., & Bradner, E. (2000) Interaction and outeraction: instant messaging in action. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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  • Instant Messagingby Kimberly TeeCPSC 781University of Calgary

  • ReadingsNardi, B. A., Whittaker, S., & Bradner, E. (2000) Interaction and outeraction: instant messaging in action. Cameron, A. & Webster, J. (2005). Unintended consequences of emerging communication technologies: Instant Messaging in the workplace. Isaacs, E., Walendowski, A., Whittaker, S.,Schiano, D. & Kamm, C. (2002). The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace. Herbsleb, J., Atkins, D., Boyer, D., Handel, M. & Finholt, T. (2002). Introducing Instant Messaging and Chat in the Workplace. Grinter, R. & Palen, L. (2002). Instant Messaging in Teen Life.

  • Historyprevious text chat systemsUNIX talk, writemulti user dungeons (MUDs)Internet Relay Chat (IRC)What is IM?

  • How is IM different?know each other in real lifeconversations are briefsome media switchingmultitasking is commonWhat is IM?real-timeasynchronousdistributedco-located

  • How is IM used?coordinating/ scheduling/ doing work tasks quick questions and clarificationscoordinating impromptu social meetingskeeping in touch with friends & familyWhat is IM?

    % of work IMs% of all IMsWork Talk49.830.8Work-Related Talk54.033.4Doing Work12.07.4Any100.061.8

    Isaacs et al. (2002). The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace.

  • How is IM used? (2)replacement technologymultiple conversations at a timeenhances privacyfairness

    for teens:socializingevent planningschoolwork collaborationWhat is IM?Grinter, E. and Palen, L. (2002). Instant Messaging in Teen Life.

    Cameron, A. F. and Webster, J. (2005). Unintended consequences of emerging communication technologies: Instant Messaging in the Workplace

  • Patterns of useheavy usersmany turns, short gaps, threaded responseslight userslonger turns, longer gaps, complete thoughtsWhat is IM?A: hi, chocolate bars $3 eachB: they have almonds right?B: milk choc?A: yesA: to bothB: k, can i get 2 plsA: sure, be right overA: hi, the chocolate bars are $3 eachB: do they have almonds and are they milk chocolate?A: yes, theyre milk chocolate and have almondsB: ok, could I please get 2?A: sure, Ill be right over

    Isaacs et al. (2002). The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace.

  • Patterns of use (2)discrete connectivitydial-up access, shared computerIM use intensive and focusedconcurrent internet activitycontinuous connectivityhigh-speed access, personal computersporadic IM useintermingled with other computer and non-computer activitiesWhat is IM?

    Grinter, E. and Palen, L. (2002). Instant Messaging in Teen Life.

  • IM as groupwarework vs. benefitadditional work but no perceived benefitcritical mass and prisoners dilemmaneed critical massmay never be to anyones advantage to usedisruption of social processeslead to activity that demotivates usersthreatens existing political structuresexception handlingimprovisation characterizes much group activityIM as groupware

    Grudin, J. (1994). Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers

  • IM as groupware (2)unobtrusive accessibilityintegration for group featuresdifficulty of evaluationdifficult to learn from experiencefailure of intuitionpoor intuition for multiuser applicationsadoption processrequires careful introduction into the workplaceIM as groupware

    Grudin, J. (1994). Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers

  • Work vs. benefitproblemssome peoples attention in more demand

    benefitsplausible deniabilitylightweight communication, responsegroup chat, questions, broadcastspresence awarenessIM as groupware

  • Critical mass, prisoners dilemmacritical massneeds collective adoption to be usefulpeer pressure, management pressuredifficult to predict what people will find valuable

    prisoners dilemma problemif everyone acts in his own best interest, the result is worse not only for the group, but also for each individualIM as groupware

  • Disruption of social processesreputation of IMmost widely-publicized use is teen gossipinginformal communication not seen as important

    interruptionsdont want more messages

    group dynamicsno desire to communicate more with remote peopleIM as groupware

  • Exception handlinginformal, lightweight characterflexibleno restrictionsIM as groupware

  • Unobtrusive accessibilitybasic usefew features to learn

    advanced useextra functionality not obvioushowever, not needed by mostIM as groupware

  • Difficult to evaluateneed feedback from real usersneed a real, working system

    example: Rear View Mirrorindividual, 1-hour appointments with users (!)initially didnt catch onpoor reliability and usabilitymainly adopted by teams

    IM as groupwarePresence Viewer

    Herbsleb et al. (2002). Introducing Instant Messaging and Chat in the Workplace.

  • Failure of intuitionrelated to difficulty in evaluationintuition improves with trial and errorIM as groupware

  • Adoption processgenerally successfulrelatively straightforward to usefree clients availablehelp available from other usersIM as groupware

  • Variation: Hubbubusers have a Sound IDcan send sound IMspartner information visible in chattyping, focus in window, focus outside window

    Example IM applications

    Isaacs et al. (2002). The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace.

  • ConclusionIM is successful groupwarein terms of popularitysupports many usesinformal communication, coordination, etc.not so good in providing awarenessbetter than nothing, but

    talk, write: one-on-one conversation for over 20 and 15 years respectivelyMUDs, IRC: multi-way text chat for over 10 yearsIM: intended to allow home internet users to chat with their family and friends140 million people worldwide used IM at the end of 2000from the Isaacs paper:conversations lasted an average of 4 mins and 23 secs -> may be a result of being impromptu rather than being in IMmedia switching, such as going from IM to phone, or for calling people to a pre-arranged meeting15.6%, ppl switched to another media: most often (7.8%) used to arrange an impromptu meeting->almost intentionally used IM to initiate a meeting, not because IM was inadequate for their needsin 85.% of conversations, at least one person multitaskedonly 4.3% of conversations overlapped at least one othersome conversations fell into more than two categories, which is why the totals dont add up to 100%work talk: discussions that furthered the work of the people involvedwork-related talk: any other work-related discussion, such as administrative stuff, computer trouble, work others are doing.. etc.doing work: carrying out work in another medium while discussing it through IMreplacement technology: used instead of phone, email, etc. however, some people report that if IM hadnt been available, no communication would have taken placemultiple conversations: same person/two media, two people/two media, queue jumping: existing conversation/second person attempts to initiate conversation through another mediumprivacy: presence awareness not found to be an invasion of privacy, 79% stated that privacy was not a concern when using IM; can actually protect privacy, i.e. people can overhear phone conversationsfairness: interruptions are a concern, some interviewees feel IM is less interruptive than phone or face-to-facepartially as a result of this, conversations between two light users lasted the longest compared to heavy or heavy-light pairsalso found that if two users chatted often, have longer discussions that covered previous topics, would interrupt conversation to do other things, and were less likely to close their conversationscontinuous -> availability more ambiguousplausible deniability: sender doesnt know for sure if the recipient is there or not, so recipient can temporarily ignore message without being rudedont need to have overhead of phone or face-to-face in terms of establishing connection as well as social nicetiescan easily identify who messaged you, and often what they want, in the first linealso, message stays up for reminder & responding is lightweighteasy to ask questions or broadcast information to a groupcan also communicate with customers, such as customer support through IMdont need IM to message and be aware of myselfbenefit to users must outweigh costs of learning IM, purchasing software/hardware, and exercising communication discipline (regularly reading and responding promptly to messages)ex. users who value group chat need other users to actively participate in conversations vs. users who value presence awareness need some users who agree to be visible, a one time settingalso, critical mass can be small or large (group chat vs. presence awareness)ex. if no one finds value in using IM, it wont be used, and people will ultimately be worse offmost workplaces do not have a clear, well-defined need for IMin the RVM study, they found that there was considerable friction between workers at different sites. If email was not answered quickly, the remote person was seen as being irresponsible or lazy. If questions were misunderstood or not answered fully, it was the competence or commitment of the other person that was called to question. The authors explain this by calling on social psychology: it is well known that observers attribute actions to personal characteristics of the person, whereas the person sees their own behaviour as a product of the situation they are inno restrictions on who you talk to, what you talk about, etc.example: RVMstudying geographically distributed teamsbackground: ~200 interviewsinterviews with tech staff, supervisors, managers, executives

    findings:hard to find co-worke

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