WSJ has an interesting article about the pros and cons of new communication tools. The most important question is the last one: do these tools actually improve productivity?

There’s no doubt that social networks, email, Twitter and Wave will enable us to communicate with more people than ever before – Orange already showed that the degrees of separation in the world has falled from 6 to 3.

For employers, it’s a question of whether employees do their jobs more effectively. For public facing jobs, marketing, sales, PR and others, these tools will be a boon – broadcasting messages to mass amounts of people has never been easier. Internally, collaboration tools are a no brainer for productivity. But email blasts aren’t.

Like any tool, the more skilled and disciplined the person who wields it, the more effective it is.