Slack messages are rarely ever completed thoughts

Comments on TechCrunch's article "Distributed teams are rewriting the rules of office(less) politics."

I don't think that article quite hit its mark, but it did contain two important bits. Loneliness is an issue for me. I like being among my colleagues. Even if nothing is said all day the presence of others roots us to a common purpose and common comfort. The other is the need to write more and with specificity.

A requirement of asynchronous communications is leaving information for others to respond to later. Ad infinitum. The longer the timespan between communications the more context each information leaving must include. It is a skill to provide brief context in these leavings along with clear answers and, perhaps, further questions. Many characterize asynchronous communications as a conversation. However, conversations are informal. Our communications are more like a dialogue where we explore problems and solutions. Problems and solutions are formal, or rather somewhere between not informal and algorithmic. And they must to be recorded and the records curated. Asynchronous communications requires a diligence that is not provided by simple conversation.

One of my favorite discoveries (unfortunately, shortly after college!) was Thinking on Paper by Howard and Barton. Writing is design thinking. (Coding is design thinking.) Design thinking is iterative and unsteady in its forward motion. Two steps forward, one step backward. Unfortunately, people still think of writing as something that happens after thoughtfulness. This misunderstanding can lead to written mistakes being harder to recover from than said ones. If you take away one bit of advice from here, it would be to assume that Slack messages are rarely ever completed thoughts.