Humans have yet to perfect one-on-one communication. We had a chance while things were still simple – face-to-face, ye olde telephone or quill to paper. However, thanks to an avalanche of digital options, we’re more confused than ever about best practices for breaking up with someone, answering a Craigslist ad or simply requesting a loaf of bread. Everyone has a different digital communication style – email, texting, instant messaging (IM), social media or voicemail. What does your digital communication style preference say about you?
If email is your preferred digital communication style, you probably remember what an “office memorandum” is. Email is also perfect for the person who spends a lot of time feeling unrequited emotions that flow fairly easily when safely logged into Yahoo! or Gmail.
Email is a little more formal than texting, and IM offers a lot more real estate for expression. Compared to texting, it’s positively scandalous how much page girth you have. Other benefits include:
If your thumb tendons are a tad inflamed and you got your first cell phone when you were 8-years-old, texting might be your favorite way to communicate with the world. Teenagers are branded as texting titans — one girl sent 15,000 texts in one month — and it’s no wonder. The harpooning hormones and social awkwardness of this phase of life lends itself well to instantaneous expressions of mood (ADIH!).
Parents have a lot to learn from their tech-savvy teens, including the following:
The IM fiend is caught up in the sweet spot between emailing and texting. If you find email too cavernous and texting an invasion of personal space, this may be your digital communication style. IM is a “soft interrupt,” it buys time and is the perfect ally for anonymity. It’s also great for the multi-tasker who likes to carry on more than one conversation while doing five other things. In addition, IM offers the following pluses:
Some people like to hear the sounds of others voices, as well as their own. If you experience communication as a canvas on which to contemplate and verbalize, voicemail may be your digital communication style. Voicemail is a lost art to many, but others feel that leaving a voicemail – or even preparing one – is so 1998. However, the voicemail maven knows that the sound of mom’s voice can never be replaced by a text (and actually helps reduce stress hormones).
If you spend a lot of time coming up with pithy one-liners and have a more voyeuristic view of interaction, social media may be your preferred digital communication style. Who needs email, texting, IM or voicemail when you can cover all your bases on Twitter and Facebook?
Don’t take your online reputation for granted, however, and enjoy these other social media pros:
Whatever your digital communication style, be thorough and cautious so that you say what you mean and mean what you say.
By Joy Keller