Rereading the thread, I wanted to highlight three quotes, and then add some data from a recent survey.
First quote, from the first post in this thread:
The main risk, as I see it, is that by adding yet another communication channel, and additional information moving through the channel, microblogging will end up wasting more time than it saves. I’m not convinced that there is even a reliable way to measure this, and I certainly haven’t seen any empirical evidence one way or another, so the time waster/time saver question is just an unknown value.
Next, from the last post:
In the months since I started this thread I have started seeing the idea of work related microblogging in a different light...I'm starting to come around, however, to the notion that "Sid the stock boy" as James described him, might actually be able to add something valuable to the larger conversation.
And third, from dransom's observations about IBM's use of internal microblogging:
Interestingly enough, when this discussion started nine months ago, I would likely have had a similar opinion - that microblogging has little value to the average employee, and should be controlled, but as I have seen it evolve and begun to use it myself, I now find tremendous value in our internal microblogging tool.
Looking across the three quotes, we see a theme emerging - that the potential benefit of the technology becomes clearer - and more real - with experience. And earlier this week, I saw some data (which we're preparing for the next issue of the IT in Canada magazine, focused on collaboration), that supports this notion.
In a survey of 671 Canadian IT managers that wrapped up last month, we asked the question: "What is the impact of the increased volume of communication in your organization? Would you say that it has led to..." Answer options included: improved productivity; no real change in productivity; or, “Information overload,” where too much communication actually impedes productivity.
When analyzing the data, we found a fascinating difference between respondents who have UC systems installed (and would presumably be exposed to high volumes of internal communications), vs. those that do not. 65% of respondents from companies with experience in using the kinds of systems that dransom describes report that increased internal communications leads to improved productivity; only 32% of those lacking UC systems believe that this is the case, with two-thirds of this group stating that increased internal communications would have no impact on productivity.
So - it seems that the sentiment reflected in this thread is also found in statistics on user experience! Thanks Travis and Dave, for keeping the discussion going...