The amount of communication channels is too damn high

At work we are blessed with the freedom to work with a wide selection of technologies. This is a wonderful thing that lets the mind be free from restriction. Where this becomes an issue is when teams try to work together. There is a history issue at work to work in silos. Teams work independently on the idea with little input from outside contributors until the product is done. This is getting better though brown bags and user groups but still needs some work. One area that needs help is chat clients.

I found people love using there own chat client for their given team. We have a campus wide XMPP service which works fine. Its just chat after all. If that was it, there would be no point to this blog post. There is also Skype for Business that DoIT started implementing. Honestly XMPP is much better for chat, but some people deem that they will only use Skype and nothing else.  Then we have teams using Slack. Slack has a lot of great features, but one disadvantage is you have to sign up for every team. Cross team collaboration doesn't work unless you are part of both teams. This leads to teams working in silos again, with no input from others. Next up, Mattermost. A Slack clone but the advantage of running locally. Another advantage is you can private chat anyone in Mattermost, regardless of team. This can be a big advantage. We also have Google Hangouts for work, but it is rarely used outside of doing Hangout video chatting.

That is just for work! I am also part of some open source orgs that have IRC. I also have Google Hangouts, SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook messenger for friends and family.

The problem that I'm alluding to above is, I have 4 chat clients for work, and more for personal. I'm reminded of that moment in Office Space when Peter describes having 8 bosses to the consultants Bob and Bob.

I know I'm complaining, but it's too much. Think of how many man hours was put into each one of these services, and think of what else we could have accomplished in the world. I'm attempting to embrace it, but sometimes it's just too much. Its hard to remember what form of communication each person prefers. So I challenge the world, please choose one.

At first

After a while...

So what do we do? I'm not 100% sure. For work I think we could just get away with using what we currently have or all decide to move to a Slack/Mattermost type client. For personal I hope one form of chat clients just takes over and all the others wither away.


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