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即时通信应用:花样越来越多,效率越来越低

Barb Darrow 2018年12月03日

一项调查发现,大多数公司都在同时使用多种即时通信工具。这种“过度连接”的现象让许多人疲于应对,痛苦不堪。

《呐喊》 图片来源:Photograph by UIG via Getty Images

对于许多在分散式组织,特别在家中办公的人而言,即时通信应用,如Slack、Jive和Yammer等,都是至关重要的工具。但许多人使用的通信应用不止于此。新闻爱好者们将推特作为新闻来源,以及快速获得流行语和专业知识的渠道。

BetterCloud公司发布了一份很有意思的研究成果。这项研究发现,在参与调查的大公司中,57%使用两种甚至更多的即时通信产品。更令人吃惊的是,20%的大公司使用5种(高达5种!)或5种以上的即时通信应用。这个数字听起来很令人震惊——直到我统计了一下自己使用的工具数量。

在工作中,我们的编辑团队基本上离不开Slack。而在个人应用方面,情况则变得更加复杂。

某些联系人将Google Chat或Hangouts作为首选沟通渠道。而制作播客的朋友,则选择微软的Skype。

另外,如前文所述,还有推特,这样一来,我自己使用的消息应用便有5种之多。

别着急,还有更多!有一些老朋友和长期消息来源更喜欢通过Facebook消息应用保持联系,而对于其他商业联系人,LinkedIn的消息应用依旧是一个重要的沟通渠道。如此一来,数量增加到了7种。

此外,实话实说,如果苹果公司没有放弃对AOL Instant Messenger的支持,我依旧会使用这款产品。它绝对是即时通信产品的鼻祖。(理论上,你依旧可以通过iChat访问这款应用,但使用体验实在太过痛苦。)

Backblaze公司的首席执行官格莱布·布德曼同样经历过“过度连接”所带来的痛苦。他有一些联系人使用Google Chat和Hangouts、LinkedIn以及Facebook,他通常会选择最适合对方的沟通渠道。

Backblaze公司曾尝试过基于状态的即时聊天应用Sqwiggle,后来选择了目前的平台Slack。他也认为,管理这些通信渠道非常棘手。

他说道:“有时候,我会收到Facebook上发来的消息,但他们有时候也会给我发送LinkedIn消息。”问题是,何为最好的应对之策?

他指出,目前的情况与即时通信应用的鼎盛时期类似,当时AOL、Yahoo Messenger和MSN Messenger为争夺精神份额和市场份额而展开激烈竞争。几乎每个人都有多个账号,所有人不得不依靠另外一款应用Trillian来管理所有这些不同的账号。

BetterCloud公司的首席执行官戴维·波利蒂斯认为,现在的问题是,最新出现的各种即时通信工具,无法组合在一起。来自纽约的BetterCloud公司旨在帮助客户使用和管理云应用。

讽刺的是,BetterCloud公司自身也曾面临过类似的挑战。

他说道:“尽管公司只有150人,但我们使用过Hipchat、Hangouts、Skype企业版和Slack。我们不得不做出决定,否则数据归档将面临严重问题。”最终,公司将Slack作为内部用户的标准通信应用,将Google Hangouts用于外部通信。

他指出,没有一款与Trillian类似的产品,可以整合目前的即时聊天应用,因为这些应用均较为封闭,无法与其他应用整合。例如,他表示,你无法将Slack整合到Google Hangouts当中。

最新消息:与往常类似,这篇文章发表之后,有一家名为Sameroom.io的公司宣称,其应用可以连接不同的即时通信技术。

因此,目前的问题之一是,各种应用之间的整合性不足。其次,来自各种应用的嘈杂提示音,使得原本有用的工具变得格外令人分心。那么问题来了:这些工具的新功能,是否比噪声更重要?

波利蒂斯说道:“我认为这一切都是在做无用功。”(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

审校:任文科

For many people who work in distributed organizations—and often from home offices—real-time messaging applications such as Slack, Jive, and Yammer, et al., are vital lifelines. But few people stop with those. News junkies rely on Twitter as their de facto news feed as well as a conduit for seeking out quotes and expertise on the fly.

So, it was interesting to read research by BetterCloud finding that 57% of big companies surveyed use two or more real-time messaging products. But more surprisingly, 20% of those big shops use five (five!) or more of these applications. That seemed a stunning number—until I thought about my own personal use of such tools.

At work, our editorial team essentially lives on Slack. But on a personal level, things fragment fast.

For certain contacts, Google Chat or Hangouts are the communications channels of choice. For podcasting buddies, Microsoft’s Skype is the go-to choice.

Then there is, as mentioned, Twitter, which makes for five messaging apps for me alone.

But wait, there’s more! There are some long-time friends and sources who prefer to communicate via Facebook messaging, and for other business contacts, LinkedIn messages are still important. That brings the count to seven.

And, to be honest, if Apple hadn’t dropped support for it, I’d still be on AOL Instant Messenger, the great granddaddy of this type of product. (In theory, you can access AOL IM via iChat, but it’s too painful to keep up.)

Gleb Budman, chief executive of Backblaze, shares the pain of over-connectedness. He also has contacts on Google Chat and Hangouts, LinkedIn, and Facebook—and pretty much uses whatever channel is most appropriate for that person.

As a company, Backblaze tried out Sqwiggle, a presence-based instant chat application for a bit before switching to its current platform, Slack. He agrees managing all those channels is a handful.

“Sometimes I’ll get a message from someone on Facebook, and they’ll send me a LinkedIn message as well.” he said. The problem then becomes, what is the best way to respond?

This, he notes, is a throwback to the heyday of instant messaging when AOL, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN Messenger were all duking it out for mind- and market-share. Almost everyone ended up with multiple accounts and then had to resort to yet another application, Trillian, to manage all those multiple accounts in one place.

The problem now is that the latest flock of real-time tools cannot be knit together, said David Politis, chief executive of BetterCloud, a New York-based company that helps customers use and manage their cloud applications.

Ironically, BetterCloud had its own challenges there.

“We used Hipchat, Hangouts, Skype for Business, and Slack, and we were just 150 people. We had to make some decisions or we’d have problems with archiving,” he noted. The company ended up standardizing on Slack for internal users but uses Google Hangouts for external interactions.

Alas, he points out, there is no Trillian equivalent for today’s instant chat applications because none of them are particularly open and receptive to integrating with the others. You can’t tie Slack, for example into Google Hangouts, he said.

Update: As is often the case, once this story posted, a company, Sameroom.io, asserted that it can connect different real-time technologies.

So one problem is the lack of integration for diverse applications. The other is the sheer cacophony of all those inputs, which turns useful tools into a distraction. The question, then, is: Does the new utility of the tools outweigh the noise?

“I think it’s a wash,” Politis said.

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