April 6, 2005


When you IM someone for work, how much small talk is expected and appropriate?

I recently IM'd a colleague call her Esme, with a question:

Me: Hello! Quick question: Do you know if....
Esme: Sorry, no idea
Me:Thanks anyway! Talk to you later.

Esme took me to task: was business all I cared about? Why didn't I stop to talk?

My assumption has been that business IM's are interruptions -- like poking your head into someone's office -- and so they should be polite but terse. Terser than a phone call, anyway -- otherwise, why not pick up the phone?