With so many different avenues for connecting with our friends these days, why do we pick one method over another?
With the advent of smartphones, and their integration into everyday life, as well as other devices – laptops, desktop computers (do people still use those?!), iPads, other tablets, iPod touches, etc etc etc… – we now have a million and one ways to connect with the people we know and don’t know. There’s Facebook wall posts, Facebook chat message, Twitter replies, Twitter DMs, email, sms, mms just to name a few. So, doesn’t it all get a little bit confusing when we’re not sure were “the message” has been sent?
Now I, for one, do not have everything pushed to my smartphone. I got sick and tired of every Facebook posts, message and twitter DM being pushed to my mobile and having it go off while I was at work, studying or exercising. It just got a bit insane, especially with multiple email accounts for a little bit of separation of identity (yes, some of us still do that). Add onto that, the alerts of posts to study discussion boards for university, and the alerts for various groups I was (and still am) administrating… Well, let’s just say it was full on.
So, why do you choose one place or platform over another to “talk” to your friends?
Personally, after many many many years in retail-based industries I have found that I hate, with a passion unknown to man before this time, talking to people on a telephone. Why then, do I still have a telephone? Well, unfortunately, other people still require you to be connected via a voice line. There’s still a rather large amount of unwarranted shock when I tell people I do not have a landline. I haven’t had one now for quite a few years, and I find it rather pleasant. In fact, when I have been around one I actually get quite nervous. You can’t turn it onto silent. You can’t shove a pillow over it. It’s there, loud and obnoxious. When you ignore it, everyone can tell.
I do not always answer my mobile when it rings. I figure, just because I have a phone, doesn’t mean I have to answer it. I am one of those, seemingly, few people who turn my phone off (not just onto silent) when I am at a theater or cinema or a meeting or any other event where a phone ringing would be counterproductive. In fact, I almost rarely answer messages in these events as well. It’s just a little light, but it’s really annoying to other people. It seems to me, that in the grab for more connection and social media, we have forgotten that there are actually other people in the world and we ought to remain considerate of them in actual events.When I do talk on my mobile, I keep my voice down. I remember the days when mobile phones were only just becoming an everyday item. These were the clunky bricks of things, so vastly removed from today’s sleek lined pieces of modern art. There were people who didn’t realise that you didn’t have to shout down the things to let the person on the other end hear you. The technology did that for you. Well, I can tell you we haven’t come very far. People using their mobile phones in crowded or enclosed areas (public transport, doctor’s waiting rooms, libraries) have forgotten what an “inside voice” is, and just yell to their friend down the line about how drunk they got the other weekend and how it was awesome. I don’t need to hear that. Really.
Which leaves us with the myriad on online connection platforms. Facebook alone has multiple ways to let your friends know your message. Add onto that email, Twitter and whatever other social media site you like to use, and we are still left with a host of potential meeting grounds. As much as I possibly can, I like to use email. It has something of a more important tone to it. It shows that you have taken time out of your usual internet/web usage to type the message. To me, it just seems like the person sending it gave me a little more time than a message sent via Twitter or Facebook or anywhere else. It makes me feel like I was at least a little more than a momentary glitch in the sender’s day.
Having said that, there are people with whom I only communicate via social networking platforms. This isn’t because I value my communication with them any less. Some of them I have email contact details for, some of them I don’t. For those I do not, it makes sense to communicate with them where I can. For those I do have alternate contact details for, it is a case of ease of communication. If they rarely check their email, or if their email takes them a lot of time to get through due to flooding, it is easier for me and my message to stand out as either a Direct Message on Twitter, or a message on Facebook.
I think, at the end of the day, it is all about standing out. There is no point sending someone an information-filled email, if the recipient rarely checks their email and may not get the required info in time. There’s no point in sending a message via Facebook, if they ignore the notifications. It’s all about getting your message across and keeping the lines of communication open. so the next time you call me and I don’t answer, maybe I’m not ignoring you. Maybe I’m watching a movie or in a meeting, or maybe you just need to find out more about where I hang out online.