Texting, IM, Skype, Facebook, Twitter

Curious about Communication | Other kinds of communication


Last year I reached a point where I couldn’t count on my fingers just how many forms of communication and devices and software interfaces that I had to use on a daily basis.  Not to mention extra email addresses at yahoo and gmail.  My morning check-in routine was tedious and ridiculous and seemed somehow unavoidable.

Like that old Talking Heads song…”How did I get here?”

I was curious to see how other people were faring.
In my recent phone survey, everyone used a little bit of everything for communicating.
Everyone preferred to use phone or email, but when forced, would accommodate other methods.

Almost no one used Twitter for direct messaging.  They only used it for social media marketing. I had to ask because although I’m not a cutting edge trendsetter, I have actually used direct messaging to reach colleagues.

First, there would be a groan.
People thought it was good for business PR or for doing global status updates for high school reunions, but beyond that it was a big time suck.

In fact, everyone and I mean EVERYONE, loathed having to answer correspondence in Facebook.
There were just too many extra steps needed (clicking, logging in, going to the Wall) just to post a response.

One person expressed it perfectly:
“I get a pang of irritation when a Facebook notification appears in my inbox”.

This was mostly for internet industry professionals, who have their very own communication culture to deal with.  I was interviewing people who were top level executives and managers.  They mentioned IM as a necessary evil.  They didn’t like that they had to be “on” and available, even at 3am.  And, in their industry, many expect you to answer if you’re computer is on at 3am.

People like the ease  of it and want to use it even more.  But so far, not used much.

For most people, about 1% of their communications were texting.
Many people felt it was just too casual for a business environment.
Texting has no paper trail, it interrupts and if it’s a conversation, your thumbs start to hurt.
Others felt that if there were more than four texts, then it was time to switch to phone.
Most would only use it for logistics like “hey, I’m running late” or “in a meeting, call you after”.

If they knew the other person only responded by texting, then they would also adopt text.
Of course, this provided much consternation in their work lives.

Tomorrow it gets juicy: 
the controversy of texting in the workplace.

2 Responses to “Texting, IM, Skype, Facebook, Twitter”

  1. Lily Says:

    Wanted to share that I used Skype to start living the life of my dreams. I always wanted to play harp, but when I decided to go for it, I was living on the Big Island of Hawaii. No harp teachers here, but I found one in San Diego. For 2 1/2 years, I took harp lessons by Skype. Now I talk to and play for (one at a time) harpists all over the world.

    Just last week, I got a gig playing for a Japanese woman who is turning 100. I needed to learn some Japanese folk songs for the performance, and a friend in Montreal called to say that she could teach me a couple of tunes over Skype. We logged on, I could see her playing, so I knew what she was doing. And I could hear and speak to her. (I recorded the session on a separate device. Poor old G4 processor just couldn’t handle it all).

    For people whose colleagues are far-flung, Skype is a blessing.

  2. Suzi Says:

    Hi Lily,
    Most people perceived Skype as a godsend, something magical. For some reason, it is not on the radar of the masses yet, but I’m feeling it will soon get there. I’ll be talking about phone etiquette and preferences in the next few days and it will be tied into this, since it involves person-to-person (sort of!) encounters.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Really making me think about what I’ve learned about comunication in the past few weeks. Still absorbing the horizontal/vertical organizational techniques you mentioned!

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