We REALLY Need to Talk!
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.
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 9 May 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- We REALLY Need to Talk! (Posted: 9 May 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved