Context and graphs produced

I’ve written two pages of background info to provide Tom with some context. They outline the jobs I was doing in 1981 and 2011 and the type of organisations I was working for; and also the main changes in communications I perceived between the two periods. The latter was an interesting list of the following:

1981 2011
The challenge was to manage paper The challenge was to manage email
Support staff assisted professionals No support staff – Professionals support themselves
You needed paper and a pen You needed a laptop, desktop and/or a handheld
Turnaround expectations were several days Turnaround expectations were a few hours
The phone was tied to the desk The phone was mobile and multipurpose providing a tighter coupling between voice and written communications.
Overland mail used for most things Many types of communications – magazines,  newsletters and marketing material – had moved into web sites or email
Presentation technologies used were either photographic slides or overhead acetates Slides and acetates had disappeared. Presentation technology was presentation software such as Powerpoint
Conference calls generally unknown. Work got done by face-to-face meetings or by shipping paper around and getting comments back on paper or by phone. Conference calls a major plank of business communications
To be connected to like-minded individuals, you had to join a group and either attend face-to-face meetings or receive materials through the overland mail. To be connected to like-minded individuals, you identified an appropriate group over the net and used web-based support systems.
Inter-continental communication took place by letter or one-to-one phone calls between distinct individuals and groups with their own agendas. Business had gone global and was conducted by interlinked teams working together across continents. Conference/video calls demanded that many participants had to join communications at unsocial hours. Email was the glue bonding the participants together.

I have also completed the basic numerical analysis and produced the following graphs:

  • % of communications received in each of 24 categories, 1981 vs 2011
  • % received on each individual day of the week, 1981 vs 2011
  • Absolute numbers of hardcopy items received by category, 1981 vs 2011
  • Average number of emails sent on each day of the week, 2011 only (no 1981 data)
  • % emails with attachments received by category, 2011 only
  • % replied to, 1981 vs 2011
  • % forwarded, 1981 vs 2011
  • Number of different senders by category, 2011 only (no 1981 data)
  • % work related, 1981 vs 2011

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