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Of communication filters

It’s a standard ritual before one leaves for a holiday.

Turn on ‘out of office’ on your email client whose message generally says something along the lines of

  • being away for a specific period of time
  • email responses will be delayed
  • if it is urgent please text/call

And that’s pretty much it.

It does nothing at all to help you manage the emails that will come from people around the world. If, like everyone I know, you have a handheld device those emails keep coming in relentlessly and depending on your device either there’s a red light flashing or not.

Ironically, with the phone there is not even the opportunity to have an out of office message. I have always been amazed at that huge hole in service. If anyone knows that you are not in your normal area of operation, it is your phone service provider. You shouldn’t even have to set it up. If the MSP knows you are out of your normal zone, you are out of office and every caller is reminded that you are not where you should be. ‘Do you still want to continue? At least give the called the information and let him/her decide’.

And lastly social media. When you are traveling the messages, tweets, notifications just pile up. You don’t have the time to go through it all, and something important could be missed.

All in all a big head ache!!Image

During the holidays, I was a victim of the above. There was content overload and trying to cope with it all was a struggle which I lost pretty early on.

And I am playing catch up.

I wonder what the opportunity is for filters that channel the information so that you are able to pick up the important pieces and let the rest just lie there happily ignored.

Perhaps a filter that would have parameters such as ‘let calls/emails/tweets of the following individuals’ through. This helps you focus on the important bits.

You could even set it up for time periods when you have more time. So a kind of dial up/dial down opportunity as well.

Filters that are dynamic ie by time of day or week. Maybe Monday mornings you want minimal interruption whereas in the midst of a conference call you would welcome them.

I think this may be the next big thing in communications development where you have the ability to decide how much of the information you want to see, and when.

Completely coincidentally while I was contemplating this blog, my brother in law @jprangaswami @jobsworth wrote about filtering, far more comprehensively and intelligently than I ever could. If you are keen, do read it here. Filtering: Seven Principles.

As marketers we need to be aware of the need to help consumers receive and digest the volume of content we send their way. And relating this back to my previous post, shouting louder or more often only makes a bad problem worse. You don’t want to be filtered out now do you?

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