Like many people who work remotely, I rely heavily on Slack, Google Meet, Jira etc. I’m sure you have your own own set of tools you use nowadays.
With this push to work-from-home for weeks-on-end, I find myself thinking more deeply about these tools that I’m using and also how they are constructs (good or bad, rightly or wrongly) of being in a tribe, a team, a meeting, a group or a company.
How much of this remote work now is shaped by: “the medium is the message“? While I don’t pronounce that I fully understand what Marshall McLuhan means (you can let Gillian Anderson explain it to you), I think it really does make me think how Slack or Zoom is changing the nature of work itself or other changes that we aren’t even aware of yet?
The current incarnations of these “mediums” are the Slack and the Zooms of the world but yet the way we “chat” has been the same with the QUERTY keyboard with fingers or just thumbs. So why have some of these essential communications tools come and gone through the years is fascinating.
Remember ICQ? Or AIM, or MSN Messenger? I even had the stint with Google Chat (with I think is still around). When I think back on it, I had fond memories of using all of those platforms. It helped create an identity but also a way to talk to friends from all over the world. For me, it was more important and more special to be able to chat with friends from overseas, especially when long-distance calls (remember those?!) were rather expensive (at least for me).
Even though ICQ is (way) past it’s prime, though it’s still kicking around here, (as, what else: ICQ New), ICQ also elevated to the culture zeitgeist too. I still remember my ICQ member number — do you remember yours?
The fact is, we’ll always need a good chat app, chat room, channels, shared or not, for personal use and/or professional use. The funny thing is that I might not remember all the conversations, but I sure remember the names of the mediums where I had them.