Sunday, January 25, 2009

Staying In Touch

In this day and age, there are a number of ways for people to stay in touch. How do you do it? How do you talk to your friends? And stay in touch? What are your new preferred methods, and which ones do you no longer use?

You have email coming at you, and not even through one email address. Everyone's got multiple email addresses. One for work. One that's personal. One for the junk emails. Me? I've got 5 different ones.

Then there's IM. Which do you use? AOL? MSN? Yahoo? G chat? ICQ? More than one? Me? I use 3. (Oh wait. Now there's chatting through Facebook. So that's 4.)

Speaking of Facebook. It brings me to these social networking sites. From the professional ones, LinkedIn, to the social ones. Remember Friendster? Then there's MySpace and the one I prefer to use, Facebook. Through both LinkedIn and Facebook, people can send me messages. Either messages on 'my wall' or private messages. Essentially yet another email account (bringing my count up to 7.)

We've got phones of course. Home phone, work phone, cell phone (and yes, some people have more than one of those too!) And oh wait. I guess if you have a cell, you must be a texter. And on my work cell? I've also got BlackBerry messenger. (So I guess that's 5 Instant Messaging outlets I've got?) Hmmm.

So. With all of that at my fingertips...what's your preferred method of communication?

Sure, it depends who with. And sure, it depends what you want to communicate. I've learned which of my friends are phone people (and many aren't!) Which friends do prefer the phone? (Let me give you a hint, it's the ones that aren't sitting in front of a computer all day long and who don't have to talk on the phone for work!)

During the work day, the quickest way for me to get an answer from a colleague or friend? IM. Or believe it or not, through Facebook. Sorry employers reading, you better embrace it, Gen Y and even Gen X is on and off Facebook all day long. The good news? It's not all personal. I find a lot of my ideas, inspiration and business leads come from Facebook.

Email's good too. Although it's maybe even more important to know who's NOT good on email! And it's always helpful to know which of your colleagues and friends are addicted to their PDA's. Those people are BEST at quick responses. (Especially if you tease them with a good subject line topic!)

Who's good at IM and who's not? And when do you use IM and when does it bug you when people use IM inappropriately? Do some people use it in order to avoid in person interaction? Yes. One of my pet peeves.

What about texting? Or BlackBerry messaging? Me? I like them both. Not for lengthy conversations obviously, but they're a useful tool. In a loud environment and can't hear? Text! Want to talk about the person you're with to another friend? Text of course!

It's no wonder we're all stressed and tired all the time. We're always connected. There are rare moments in the day when we're not accessible. Or when we're not having people and information coming at us from a number of different places.

I've found that I have to self-impose times of day or nights of the week when I don't check email. Or when I turn my phone off. Those moments of silence (albeit far and few in between) are really important moments. A time for me to clear my head and to do some thinking. Or a chance to enjoy time with my family or friends. A time when I have 100 percent of my attention dedicated to them.

Call me old fashioned, but I just like communicating with people face to face.

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