The rise of messaging, its challenges to productivity, and what we can do about it

Messaging is taking over the world. If you look at the home screen on your phone, I’d bet at least 3–5 apps have a messaging component, if not more.

We use messaging to talk to our friends, to keep in touch with our family, to coordinate stuff at work, to talk to our customers, and so much more.

We’ve shifted from a world where you had full control of one or two email inboxes to one where you’re expected to be available to everyone at all times. Because quite frankly…you are. We’re all just one tap away from each other.

Instead of having that one or two inboxes, you have 10–20 different inboxes and it’s hard to keep up, especially in the workplace. Days can go by and you feel like you’re trapped in this never-ending-cycle of communicating and keeping up with what’s going on that it’s hard to point to things that you actually did or produced.

In this talk that I gave at Fireside Conference and MoNage (about the future of messaging), I explore how we’ve landed where we are and talk about all of the things we can do to stay productive and level-headed in a sea of messages.

Let me also throw in a disclaimer here that I work for Drift, which is a messaging app for companies to talk to their customers. At the end of the day, this shift is a good one. This presentation is a critical view of how we make sense of this new way that society operates.

It’s my job, and that of those in my industry, to make sure that we’re thoughtful about notification overload and build our products in a way that work for the user and enable them to do more meaningful work that benefits all involved (the customer, and the company), which is our goal at Drift.