Why I don’t use presence software

Originally written 5/13/15

I recently found out that Zoom integrated presence functionality. Skype for Business has it as well. I’m sure one of the other dozen UC/Video chat apps I have on my laptop do to. Do I use it, or any other locked in, non-ubiquitous program or app? There they both sit on my computer, ready to be used and colleagues who want me to use it (because they use it). Yet I don’t use them, and here is why.

Annoyance factor
Getting pinged is annoying. People who constantly ping you are even worse. Once someone gets it in their head that they can instant message you on a whim and they keep doing it, well, there goes your day. It’s as if calling or emailing is too much of a bother, so someone feels that they need to interrupt your day and your computer all at the same time.

Computer factors
As a CAD jockey I have a fairly high end engineering laptop and I find myself typically working with only my CAD program open. Why? My CAD program craves any available resources and the more crap I have open, the less resources there are. Plus, nothing would piss me off worse than getting an instant message popping up on-screen while working on something critical that already has my computer churning. Assemblies in Inventor aren’t small! It’s not as if I just have a spreadsheet and a web browser open all day.

Am I really available right now?
That answer is usually no. I never think to myself “hey, I’m going to open myself up to messaging and on the fly video chats. That seems a really great use of my time.” Nope, it never happens. When you get up to go to the restroom, do you set your availability? What about when you get a phone call or your boss pops in your office? I would be constantly setting my availability and dragging myself further down the path of non-productivity.

I can be contacted incredibly easy via other means that don’t require the other person to have special software, nor bogs down my computer.
Sorry for the long bullet point heading, but that’s how I feel.

My phone is a communication weapon, capable of email, texting and phone calls.

Think about this; if your spouse or parent needed to reach out to you for something important how would that happen? If it wasn’t that important, how would that happen? Would it be a different form of communication? If my wife wants to call me, she doesn’t have to have a special phone to do it. Imagine if you could only call people who either have your same model of phone or use the same service provider. Now imagine if you could only email someone with the same email extension as you? That sounds pretty stupid for something that is supposed to UNIFY communication.

That all being said, your mileage may vary and it may be the perfect tool for you. For me, not so much.

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