We REALLY Need to Talk!

Category: Social-Networking , Telephony

Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen’s chart-topping 2012 song might have been better titled something like, “Call Me Maybe or Maybe Text Me or SnapChat Me Baby, or Instagram Me One More Time...” But then it wouldn’t have topped the charts, would it? There are so many different ways to contact people now that it’s become a hassle just to choose one...

Too Many Means of Messaging?

Business cards have not grown in size but the amount of information they bear sure has. In addition to name, street address, and phone number (specify “mobile” if readers can text it) we now have email address, Website, Skype handle, etc. And if you're really cool, you'll have a scannable QR code on your card.Consequently, the font size has shrunk to the point where Boomers with bad eyesight need pocket magnifiers.

The proliferation of protocols for contacting someone means that you really do need a handheld computer – better known as a smartphone – in order to accommodate the preference of every stranger you might happen to meet in the course of commerce. “Text (or whatever) is the best way to reach me; I don’t check email often” is a pretty common advisement, especially in the under-30 crowd.

Many Messaging Apps

Communication is further complicated by social networks, which are adding messaging features in an effort to extend the fences they build around their members. If I am a Twitter twit and you are a Facebook fan, we’ll have to negotiate who is going to step outside of his comfort zone so that we can communicate.

“Mail me on LinkedIn.”

“Nah, its mail app stinks. DM me on Twitter.”

“But we’ll have to follow each other first!”

“Okay, then send me a Facebook message.”

“Acck, it'll cost me a dollar, we're not friends yet.”

Inbox Overload is Getting Worse

At the same time, different messaging platforms are converging. Vine has popularized the six-second video message which, like Twitter’s 140-character limit, is supposed to make messages better by keeping them short. Vine now allows private one-to-one exchanges similar to Twitter’s “direct messaging.” Snapchat, inventor of the self-destructing selfie, just added text and video chats that disappear when a session ends. Facebook recently acquired messaging service Whatsapp for a whopping $19 billion after being spurned by Snapchat. (See WhatsUp With WhatsApp?)

I still can't figure out why we need all these alternative mobile messaging apps. Every cell phone since the invention of FORTRAN has included a fully functional text messaging app. And I haven't even mentioned desktop "instant messaging" tools like Yahoo Instant Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, Trillian and Pidgin. By the time a kid reaches 10th grade, she'll have sixteen inboxes to go with her sixteen candles.

Personally, all I need is an email address and maybe a phone number. If you don’t respond to either of those then I assume you’re not interested in communicating with me. I don’t have time to install and learn multiple apps to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of everyone. And if I have to register a new social media account to send you a message, I’ll just go buy a stamp.

What’s your favorite messaging app? How do you cope with the overabundance of messaging options? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 9 May 2014


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Most recent comments on "We REALLY Need to Talk!"

(See all 50 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

david
09 May 2014

I'm with you fellers' Email and phone (not necessarily in that order) is all I use. I was emailing and phone talking prior to the WWW and do not see any need for anything else. I do however, enjoy the hell out of using the USPS. Great dollar value, having someone pick up a document at my doorstep and getting it hand delivered to anywhere in the USA for less than half a dollar. Best deal around..


Posted by:

Kate
09 May 2014

Email and phone number for me, too! Too many of the other means of communication are designed around the premise that everyone needs to know every little thought or action, and that's not my way of thinking at all.


Posted by:

Michael
09 May 2014

You are right Bob, email and phone is essential.
All the others are luxury which I don't want and need. Beside that these are collecting tons of information, don't respect privacy and use it for other purposes. I still don't like them and spend time on it.


Posted by:

Cara
10 May 2014

So glad to hear I am not the only one that thinks the over load is crazy. I'm directing your article to many who just might see the light......but they'll need the app for that won't they! LOL


Posted by:

Robert
10 May 2014

Well for me it's primarily email. Still use the landline phone answering machine. Got a cell phone but barely use it. Texting is becoming a bit more necesary as I am working with a lot of 20-somethings and that's about all they know. I ended up with a Facebook account somewhat reluctantly but it became neccessary when a group I work with decided to use it for all primary communications (via a "secret group"). Plus the younger members of the family seem to communicate that way so...

And here's a tidbit for all of you. Was talking to an ATT installer/repair person recently after my landline went down. According to him we will be kissing landline service goodby within about 4 to 5 years around here as they switch over to "everything over a cable/fiber optic" system like U-Verse or cellular service. Copper wire POTS is following the dinosaurs into the sunset.


Posted by:

Mike Goody
10 May 2014

I completely agree with you - someone told me recently the being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria of a mental institution...................


Posted by:

David
10 May 2014

email and cell phone mainly, 2 cells ($15 for the pair/ mo.).. USPS also. No texting, as that seems like reverting to Morse code especially on older phones. No social networks of any kind either. We did drop our land line as it was seldom used and got faster internet instead.


Posted by:

Mike Goody
10 May 2014

I completely agree with you - someone told me recently the being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria of a mental institution...................


Posted by:

Nancy
10 May 2014

I've come to appreciate my cell phone... and even texting. Especially now that I have an iPhone where I can voice text. No need to laboriously spell it out.
I would give up my landline in a split second if I knew how to send and receive faxes easily without one.

As for Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. - they all seem like they're a pain in the rear.


Posted by:

david
10 May 2014

I'm with you fellers' Email and phone (not necessarily in that order) is all I use. I was emailing and phone talking prior to the WWW and do not see any need for anything else. I do however, enjoy the hell out of using the USPS. Great dollar value, having someone pick up a document at my doorstep and getting it hand delivered to anywhere in the USA for less than half a dollar. Best deal around..


Posted by:

Old Dragon
10 May 2014

I am so happy to read that I'm not the only Boomer that prefers to keep things simple. One un-smart cell phone, one email address, and a hand full of stamps is about all I care to put up with. Business is business and it probably moves commerce along to have available a gazillion avenues of communication, but being sociable always meant face time to me. This old dragon thinks things are just getting too darned fast.


Posted by:

DWBent
10 May 2014

Almost all households have a TV however since analog systems were replaced with digital. That said Cable company's have boomed. My pseudo phone is digital from the cable company. Use it all the time. E-mail is the next best thing since I have cable and hi-speed internet. I do have two mobile phone (Trak) and never text and never voice mail. For those with hand held computers and small screens and a million apps you will come to rely on then so much, you won't be able to function without them. I wonder why? Is this the reason people can't add your change at the cash register I feel sorry for you, yes I am an old foggy of 75 but I still can function without the technology.


Posted by:

Rick
10 May 2014

I prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone as apposed to text or e-mail. I can get more done in a one minute phone call than I can in 30 minutes of texting. My second favorite means of communication is e-mail. I do have Twitter and Facebook accounts but they a cumbersome and take up to much time.


Posted by:

Tony
10 May 2014

@ Mike Goody "I completely agree with you - someone told me recently the being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria of a mental institution"

Hey Mike, very funny but a tad unkind if not unfair cos one of my big kids lives and works remotely and Facebook is useful in keeping us and her mates informed of what's going on in her life :)


Posted by:

salim
10 May 2014

bob, i feel we're the same age;-)
i, like you, only concentrate on communicating by email, & since last year emphasize a person emailing me if they request something i can help them with.
so like you, if they don't send me a message through that medium to remind me of our conversation & refresh the memory, i assume it wasn't that important to them to begin with.
with all the stuff you mentioned here, it's no wonder i found through my dissertation's literature review that the average american tries to cram in between 31-36 hour's worth of activity in a 24 hour day.


Posted by:

Mike Goody
11 May 2014

I completely agree with you - someone told me recently the being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria of a mental institution...................


Posted by:

Teddybear (Byron)
11 May 2014

I fully agree with you Bob. I come from the old school were we wrote letters, practiced our penmanship so that our writing was legible and if I wanted to communicate, I bought some envelopes and stamps. I don't miss the old crank telephones though. Much prefer my old corded and cordless touch tone phones with buttons to push.
My grandchildren send me a message on email via Facebook and it takes me a while to figure out what they have short hand a text message. It is like a foreign language to me. Too many gadgets and distractions with all the technology. I wonder sometimes how far it will go before the bubble bursts. Anyone remember 33 1/3 speed 78 records that played on a mono turntable and one little speaker. That was my technology when I was a kid. And a Marconi AM tube radio which supplied entertainment to no end. Ahhh the good ole days when life was much slower and ppl had time to stop and chat in person for an hour or so.


Posted by:

Steve Shearer, aka Stevestuf
11 May 2014

Facebook messaging has allowed me to talk to my family, friends, and clients (I do web design & SEO), so I don't avoid that one.

I see a lot of companies use Skype now days & there's a great advantage: free & you can do video. But with my system I'm on now, it takes up too much memory, so I don't have it on 24/7. I just bought a faster system, so once I get it up & running, I may have it whenever I'm on.

And me? I'm 62.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
12 May 2014

Bob, just a note ... I reading over all of the comments, 48 of them ... Most all of them, agree with your article!

I kept wondering, when will the "Powers That Be", in ALL Corporations and Companies ... Realize that, more and more Baby Boomers are becoming Senior Citizens and the 18-49 Demographic Group that, they all keep striving to "reach out to" ... Are in the MINORITY!!!

It's the same thing with TV programs. In all honesty, just how "stupid" can you get??? A large portion of the Senior Citizens are doing quite well, as far as money is concerned. Yes, many of us are on a Fixed Income, I am, but, I still can handle my monthly expenses and have a bit over, to spend on extras. Just to show you and others, I rarely watch any Major TV Stations, like CBS, NBC or ABC ... Simply, because I detest their programming and shows. I am not the only one, doing this, either. Since, these TV Stations want to mainly "reach out to" the 18-49 demographic bracket and I am in the 50-90 bracket, they have just lost all of my financial support, of their commercials!!!

As with preferring to use the PHONE ... I prefer to watch the Cable/Satellite Channels, like the Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movie Channel or the History Channel or the H2 Channel or the Smithsonian Channel or the Science Channel, so on and so on. I want to either learn something or watch a movie that is truly, family friendly.


Posted by:

Tony
12 May 2014

Wow Mme Moxie just wow! You’ve somewhat put paid to the concept that we're all individuals with diverse and different thought patterns as your comments almost if not totally equates to mine (as I grow older yet another assault on my understanding of reality).
My good lady and I have totally stopped watching stuff that focuses on college kids, explicit sex and violence and lament at what these fast food claptrap of productions are doing to our kids and grandkids psyche let alone what fast foods do to their physique. Much like you I watch a lot of science and fact related material delivered by amazing learned people - both male and female.
I'll stop there lest my pontificating drives everyone nuts :)


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