Another Take On Instant Messaging In The Workplace

One of the great debates is whether instant messaging should be allowed in the workplace. It is a great, wonderful, easy way to communicate with co-workers, clients, and so on. I, personally, use it on a daily basis. I sign in at the beginning of my work day and sign out at the end. Since I work from home by myself, it’s kind of like going to the office, only I don’t have to leave the comfort of my own house.

A few years ago, I was working for a small consulting company with around 15 employees. We all used msn messenger in the office to communicate with each other and outside contacts. It was definitely convenient. If someone asked for my opinion last week I would have completely supported the technology in the workplace. However, opinions change and a recent experience made me rethink the whole thing.

Last week a friend of mine who just purchased her first computer called for assistance with using msn messenger. I walked her through the process of creating a passport, signing into messenger, adding a contact, and a few other quick basics of how to use it. During the span of the week I must have received ten phone calls from her because she was either having problems with instant messaging or wanted to know how to use another feature of it. On top of the phone calls, I also received a few IMs from her asking for assistance. I would say that by the end of the week, I had spent a good 3 hours with her.

Of course I didn’t mind offering support but what if this was in an office environment. If I was working help desk, would I want to be troubleshooting someone’s instant messaging problems or teaching employees how to use instant messenger when I could probably be tackling more important problems. Offering three hours of support for one person is not a problem, but multiply that by 100 and you are wasting a lot of time.

I guess my point here is that I never considered the impact instant messenger might have on the help desk personnel and technical support. I only thought in terms of how handy it is for communicating. So once again, I’m sitting on the fence.

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  • Sandy

    Yup; Klout’s info on me is either out-of-date or inaccurate; I stopped caring about Klout a while ago.

  • Joe Fernandez

    Hey Kelly,

    I am one of the founders and the CEO here at Klout. The accuracy of our data is the most important thing to us here at Klout. The challenge here is we are dealing with extremely “dirty” data coming from Twitter, Facebook etc. To increase the fidelity on this data we have even had to slow down processing on our influencer of/influenced by calculations. Those calculations don’t impact your overall score and are primarily meant to be discovery mechanisms on our site.

    We continue to work on reducing the time between each data point on Klout profiles are processed across our whole user base. There are metrics that don’t change as much or don’t impact the score in a huge way that we update less frequently to make sure that the key metrics are always fresh. We should definitely be doing a better job on our site explaining this.

    This is definitely a work in progress and we appreciate this feedback.


  • Shelby Healy

    This is very interesting. I was wondering if some sort of change happened in the last couple of weeks. I was at a 57, now I’m at 38. How could that drop so low in such a short period of time?

  • Kk+

    Klout score is a good relative measure of influence but a shitty absolute measure of influence. It’s one of many factors used to determined WTF is goin on out there on the internets. :)

  • Lucretia M Pruitt

    Um, Shelly? I’m the first person to admit that I’ve had my own issues with Klout – but I followed both of your links above and the first one links strictly to @2morrowknights twitter feed, but not to anything indicating that he has said anything like what you quoted he had ‘on Tuesday’, while the second one links to a PR announcement about Peter Shankman’s NYC party – but nothing indicating that “Hotels and clubs in Las Vegas” have admitted any such thing.
    Could you please actually link the sources or your information? Those allegations hold some pretty heavy weight if not just rumors.

    • Anonymous

      In addition to VIP events, the Palms is building out the “Klout Klub” which “”will allow high-ranking influencers to experience Palms’ impressive set of amenities in hopes that these influencers will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers.”

      Virgin America has also offered free flights to those with high Klout scores.

      More information here:

  • Anonymous

    I think Klout has a ton of potential but I feel like too many are using it as a catch-all silver bullet. There needs to be a “Klout U” on what it is and isn’t.

    No measuring system is going to ever be perfect when we’re talking about “influence.” What is influence? On what topics? There’s a lot of stuff at play here. But it helps to have a guide.

    That said, I’m very nervous that there’s agencies who are basing their hiring decisions (I’ve heard of other cases, as well) on personal Klout scores. I know a lot of good strategists who aren’t Twitterati; people who have put together solid stuff but they’re not the “cool kids” personally. For gosh sakes, the person in question has a score of 73! That’s pretty high, and if that’s not enough, what is?

    The challenges of navigating a brand and an organization are quite different than being popular or influential on a personal account. There’s a lot more to the story, a lot more moving parts. I’ve seen a lot of popular people fail spectacularly when they get to implementing within the constructs of an organization.

    One of the things Klout does very well and why it’s been adopted so fast, as I was having a discussion with a corporate colleague, is make C-Suites and execs happy – they’re data, number driven. A number is something they can understand, regardless of what’s contained within it.. So they lean on it.

  • Mike Kujawski

    Patience people, patience. As Joe mentioned, the folks at Klout are obviously working hard to improve their algorithm and process. Like EVERY analytic tool out there, it’s only a tool. A tool that relies on data. The fact that the data is not perfect is not the tool’s fault. And even with perfectly accurate data, you still need a data analyst to put it in context. At present time, most people blindly take the numbers at face value and jump to conclusions. That’s the bigger problem here.