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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Your Story: Throwing new tools at a communication problem?

I'm working on a (likely non-43 Folders) piece about a topic that seems to keep coming up whenever I talk with people about how their team plans, collaborates, and generally communicates with one another. I'd love to hear from you in comments if you have a contribution to make.

What’s your story?

Do you have a story about a time when your team or company tried to solve a human communication problem by adding a new tool? In your estimation, how did things turn out?


Yours doesn't need to be a horror story to be included here -- there are certainly ample examples in which a thorny problem disappeared by introducing a bit of high (or low) technology to the mix.

But, the anecdotes I hear from worker bees often focus on the frustration they felt when a wiki, a new CMS, a mailing list, or some other tool was introduced into an ecosystem that was suffering from a more fundamental communication problem. A lot of people tell me that this makes matters much worse all around, often amplifying the complexity of the original problem, in addition to piling on burnt cycles that were committed on getting everyone up to speed on the new "silver bullet."

If you have a minute over the next week or so, please share your story here. Redact details that you think need redacting, but please consider telling me how things went for you and your group. And, if you feel like a whole or partial solution to the core problem ever did come along, that would be great to know, as well. Already documented this someplace else? Know of someone else who did? Links to relevant stories are also greatly appreciated.

If things pan out, I may be contacting a few of you offline for more details, and conceivably, an interview or two. Thanks in advance.

Mark1701's picture

Communicating with Student - Twitter

Due to an early retirement of our department secretary and the three week lag time until a replacement can be found, I created separate Twitter accounts for each of my courses. The problem with college students is that they spend more time on their cell phones/smart phones than they do on computers during the course of the day. I needed a way to post quick messages (canceled class, late start, extra credit assignment, exam date/time correction etc) and be sure they got it. With Twitter's text message option, I can reach large numbers of students through the medium they use the most and have with them at all times. So far the only problem was getting them to take the time to create a Twitter account (which a quick extra-credit tweet quickly motivated students to begin opening accounts and following my feed). On the down side, Twitter requires me to have a unique email for each Twitter feed which means I had to set up a few extra Gmail accounts and forward them all to a main account.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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