As a kid I loved the TV Batman series with Adam West as the caped crusader and a host of famous guests as the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman and, of course, the Penguin. The whole thing was a joy and I particularly loved the combination of real actors, over-dramatic music and kitsch cartoon animation.
Being at a suggestible age after each episode I would be hyper-active, fighting imaginary villains. Pow! Bam! Zonk! Kapow! At the end of the show they’d announce that Batman would be back — same time, same place and same channel. I just couldn’t wait.
I’m a bit older now and less inclined to emulate super heroes; not with my knees. Same time, same place and same channel have disappeared from my life too.
As a BT agile worker I can work from any location and, within reason, at any time using a wide choice of communications channels.
I have a range of company-provided communications channels in addition to telephone and face-to-face. Some are private and real-time like instant messenger, audio conferencing and web meetings. I use these frequently both for planned and unscheduled meetings, saving money and increasing my productivity. In addition to document sharing I use web cameras for web meetings. They are getting better and I’m using web cameras more frequently now.
Other communications channels I use are ‘public’ platforms like blogs (including micro-blogging) and webinars where attendance is available to anyone with the authority to access the platform. In the case of external blogs, that includes (of course) the general public but, in the case of my internal BT blog, it is for authorised BT employees only.
I also use my personal website in BT as a landing page for general information about what I am working on, who I am currently working with, what my research interests are and what my interests/skills are. I find this particularly useful in generating new contacts and finding new interesting assignments.
For projects or special research assignments I use online meeting or team rooms where we gather, organise, classify and collaboratively edit material. In this way, producing outcomes is truly cooperative and benefits from the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.
Posting communications to any of these channels is increasingly done from anywhere as mobile devices and mobile apps allow us to access all of them from mobile, public or corporate networks. That includes on the road, in public places, from BT offices, from client premises and from my home office.
Having many communications channels does raise an issue. Which one is best for any particular communication? In the past it was easy, there were limited choices — now we have to work out which will be most effective. In my view it all depends on the richness of the communication, the media being used, how formal it is, the degree of urgency and the target audience.
As much as I remember same place, same time, and same channel with fondness, when it comes to work and getting things done I’ll take a choice every day. I’m happy to tune in any time, any place, any channel — even though I need to decide which is best for any given situation.