New Rules for New Communications Tools

Updated: February 26, 2011

  • Texting - Don't send a text when it is longer than a sentence and don't send a text when you don't need an immediate response. Email instead. For example, if you are inviting friends to a party in 3 weeks, email is a better choice. If you want someone to meet you for lunch today, go ahead and text away.
  • IMing- Keep IMs simple. Don't IM complicated requests. It should be more for simple chats and yes/no or extremely important/time sensitive requests. An IM that says, "Jay, can we walk through the marketing strategy?" is better suited for an email or a calendar invite.
  • Planning an event - When you know that someone is going to have to check their calendar or ask their partner about logistics, it isn't necessary to put them on the spot with a phone call or instant message. Send it as an email or better yet, a calendar notice. I use Google Calendar for personal meetings. All electronic calendars have the ability to propose a new time. It is easier to propose new times electronically than to go back and fourth asking permission to send a calendar meeting request.
  • Voicemail - Try to resist the urge to leave a voicemail if someone doesn't pick up. Instead, just shoot a quick email or text message. People are less likely to check voicemails in the frequency they check email and texts. See this NYTimes article about the death of voicemail.

  • Facebook - Consider Facebook to email your friends instead of traditional emails but don't compose private emails on Facebook walls. Use the Facebook inbox for that. Same applies to Twitter and direct messages.
  • Pictures- Don't attach big pictures in the body of an email. There are plenty of services including Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook that make it easy to upload, share and discuss photos free of charge. When uploading to sites, take the time to add info and tags about these pictures. Without this data, people will not be able to find the pictures.
  • Social tools - Consider using a tool like FourSquare to meet up with friends. Instead of needing to call and ask where people are going for happy hour, if your friend is an active user of FourSquare, it will most likely be posted already!
  • Pen and paper - A piece of physical mail every so often is a good way to get through the clutter.
  • In person! - Don't forget to make a phone call every so often or better yet, an in-person meeting.

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