Last week, in a very interesting and enlightening blog post, Ross Mayfield, Chairman, President & Co-founder of Socialtext, and who I had the great pleasure of meeting up in person while in Lotusphere 2008, mentioned how he is taking a very provocative turn into expanding further with his adoption of wikis in the corporate world, not only to enhance the overall knowledge sharing and collaboration experiences, but also as a way to try to escape e-mail. And in so doing it by making use of his Out of Office (Or auto-responder) indicating folks how to best reach out to him, while he is away. And he does it via a wiki, of course!
What an AWESOME idea!!! Just brilliant! For someone like myself who is also trying to divert some of those different public conversations coming through e-mail, this is perhaps one of the best tips I can think of in my on-going fight against such work related e-mail. My immediate team is currently making use of a wiki, so you probably know where I am going to create my Vacation Message Page. I seriously think that this could be one amazing idea worth while exploring and I am surely going to try it out. Go into my team’s wiki, create a specific page for Vacation Messages and encourage everyone in my team and, through my Out of Office message, everyone else to come over and share what they would want to get my attention on when I am back.
No more e-mails. No more e-mail quotas exceeded. No more stress having to sort out hundreds of e-mails. No more having that feeling of wasting your first or second day of productivity. Just pure delight! Just productive on first day back, first thing in the morning! More than anything else, because there is a great chance that if someone updates that wiki page wanting my attention when coming back, perhaps one of my colleagues may be able to chime in between and help out, while I am away. Of course, it works both ways, when they are gone themselves, I will be chiming into that wiki page and try to help out sharing and providing the necessary info.
Yes, I know! Mind-blowing!!! I am *so* going to try this out next time I am away, which happens to be in mid-April, so will keep you all updated on it! For sure. What’s also interesting in Ross’ blog post is how he is also sharing how he is making use of external applications like Facebook, Twitter and wikis to close some deals during this quarter! Boy, and then they tell me that all of this social software cannot be used to conduct business as productively as you can, if not more, than with e-mail! Ha! Well done, Ross!! Thanks for sharing and showing us the way as well!!
However, one other item I found interesting was his auto-responder message, which clearly points out something I have been doing myself over the last few weeks: Don’t send me an e-mail while I am away, because it’s the last thing I am going to check, if at all. Find me in social software spaces instead!
So for the sake of sharing the one I have been using myself lately, here is my current auto-responder that gets sent out to every single person who sends me an e-mail while I am away:
"I will be out of the office till the 25th of March
During that time, I will have very limited access to both e-mail and voicemails, so would only be able to check them once a day, at the end of the day, and only for urgent, private or IBM confidential messages.
In order to help avoid running into mail jail while I am away, every single e-mail larger than 300kb will be deleted without even looking at it! Please resend again on the week of the 24th of March. Thanks!
And if you have been reading my "Giving up on e-mail" new mantra, LINK HERE, you will know by now that e-mail is the last thing I check & respond to. Find me instead in IBM’s top social software tools… (Sametime, Connections, WikiCentral, Beehive, BlueTwit, Cattail, etc.) for a faster response while I am away.
If you have any questions regarding SUCH & SUCH please do contact JOE DOE
Alternatively, if you have got questions regarding the SUCH & SUCH team please do contact JOE DOE
Yes, I know. It is a long read for an auto-responder message, but you would agree with me that it gets straight to the point of how people can reach me faster while I am away, while keeping them informed of how they can get to the rest of my teams and the one and only exception while I still check e-mail for. And you know what the greatest thing about this whole thing is? Well, that little by little, I am starting to see some of my work colleagues using similar Out of Office messages, if not much more drastic altogether. And, that, folks, is a good thing!
The word is getting out. People are reacting and challenging their work related e-mails and finding better ways of reaching out and connecting with other knowledge workers. And all of that through social software and not through e-mail!
(I just cannot help smiling, while putting together this blog post, how I have been away celebrating Easter and having a well deserved long weekend break, including today, Easter Monday, and the count of e-mails so far is on 5 e-mails! It is working, slowly, but steadily! Finally beating work related e-mail to suit my needs and not vice versa! Tomorrow morning, first thing, I’ll be productive once again!)
Tags: IBM, Collaboration, Remote Collaboration, e-mail, email, Social Software, Social Networking, Social Media, Social Computing, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation, Productivity, Conversations, Dialogue, Openness, Knowledge Sharing, KM, Knowledge Management, Collaboration 2.0, Easter, Ross Mayfield, Lotusphere2008, Socialtext, Wikis, Vacation Message Page, Facebook, Twitter, Auto-responder, Out of Office, Lotus Sametime, Sametime, Lotus Connections, Connections, WikiCentral, Beehive, BlueTwit, Cattail, Easter Monday, Holiday, Vacation