When we joke about information overload and how it’s a modern world, I’m not sure everyone appreciates just how pervasive technology has become for communications.
For example, this is how I communicate with various relatives and friends (in no particular order):
- Skype (on my laptop or my iPhone). There are a couple of friends who don’t live locally with whom I only use Skype to communicate. In one case, my friend travels a lot and when he lights up his webcam, the background can be anything from his home office to a hotel balcony overlooking a beach resort.
- Instant Messaging (IM). This is mostly used by colleagues who have moved on, but includes some other friends too. I use Yahoo, AOL, and Windows Live, all using the same userid (my Hotmail address, without the Hotmail part).
- Text Messages. There are a few friends for whom text message is simplest because of time zones in the USA and we rarely chat any other way. This is also a common way for my girls to reach out to me during the working day or when I’m out for the evening OR WHEN I’M IN A DIFFERENT PART OF THE HOUSE!!
- E-mail (Verizon POP3, on my PC or iPhone). I have a personal e-mail account that I use for general stuff (In fact, I have a few of them — a throw-away one for companies to send marketing stuff to, one that I share with the kids for school stuff, etc.). I still have some long-time friends and a few newer friends where back-and-forth e-mails are our primary means of contact. Sometimes we flip e-mails around quickly, sometimes it’s weeks between e-mails.
- E-mail (Hotmail, on my PC or iPhone). I use a Hotmail account with WordPress. For most WordPress friends and some other friends, e-mail using the web client on my phone is the primary means of contact. It has the advantage that it doesn’t get blocked at work and I can access it from my iPhone or any PC.
- Twitter (via iPhone). I have one friend in Europe who will send me a direct Tweet before any other means of communication. This is fine by me AND horrible because my iPhone displays a ‘badge’ as soon as her Tweet is received BUT responses are limited to 140 characters. For me, this limitation SUCKS!
- Facebook Messages (on my PC or iPhone). Some of my cousins are hopeless with e-mail and instead send me messages via Facebook. My niece does this because she doesn’t have an e-mail client on her phone but can access the Facebook web page.
- Facebook Chat (on my laptop or iPhone). Late at night before I go to bed, sometimes I logon to Facebook to see what’s been happening. The Chat feature is simple and quick to use and I occasionally end up in long conversations with people who live a few streets away or relatives in Australia who are in the middle of their day.
- Words with Friends Chat (iPhone App). As part of playing this online Scrabble-like game, it’s possible to send simple messages back and forth. One ex-girlfriend of mine from years ago invited me to play recently. We now spend as much time chatting via this feature as via any other mechanism.
- Telephone (that thing with the cordless handset). Yes, it’s unbelievable, but I talk to some friends by *phone*. After all this time! Amazing!
- IN PERSON. Yes, it’s even more unbelievable, but I MEET some friends face-to-face! Wow!
The point to remember here is that this isn’t MY choice. This is how my friends and relatives prefer to make contact or keep in touch. For some people, if I insisted on switching to another means of contact, I’d likely lose the connection because it’s simply not convenient for them for technical or personal reasons.
Oh, I forgot to mention. There are a half-dozen or more people with whom I communicate via AT LEAST *5* different means of communication. We use whichever is most convenient at the moment we need to make contact. Weird but true!
When I read blog posts about women who are miffed by a guy — a potential suitor — who has chosen to make contact in a way they find less comfortable, I chortle to myself. Swap with me for a few weeks and see if you still complain!
So, for you, do you have another means of communication I don’t use? Do you care HOW someone makes contact anymore, provided they do?