Is Online Messaging at Work Wasting Time?

A couple days ago I instant-messaged a teacher while at school through his gmail account because I needed to ask him a work-related question. I saw that he was online at the same time and I sent a quick, “Hi, are you there?” I didn’t get a response. When I saw him later he smiled and said that he saw the message. He then half jokingly remarked something like, “Shouldn’t you be working?”

I find this sort of thinking interesting. If I had found him in person and asked the question, or even shoot the proverbial excrementum about a sports game on a prep period, I’m not sure it would have garnered the same response.  If instant messaging is used to contact a teacher within a school, it’s understood as wasting time and thus some would avoid it altogether or just feel guilty about it.

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