16 January 2009 | Tanya Goodin

Let me count the ways….

I didn't make the full list of social media New Year's resolutions that I made last year (mainly because learnt from my lessons the year before…) but one of the things I have resolved to do is try and rationalise the ways in which I communicate. 

Might sound odd for someone in the communication business but the media have multiplied out of all recognition in the last two years and I now find myself switching with such speed from one application/method to the other than I've realised it's definitely having an impact on my stress levels. I've even found myself on one occasion simultaneously Skyping, emailing and talking on the phone to the same person. Bizarre.

I use all the standard stuff:
  • Voice – mobile (when was the last time you used a landline?)
  • Email 
  • Texting

But there's also now:

  • IM – MSN, Skype
  • Facebook (this really needs a category all of it's own as it now includes includes messages, wall posts, status comments and now facebook chat) 
  • Twitter 
  • Yammer 

There are some friends I only communicate with via one medium – mainly mobile or texting. But then there are comms junkies like me who I use every method to communicate with. It's just too much!

Texting might be the first to go now I've got an IM client on my BlackBerry. I definitely text a lot less than I used to. But IM has its limitations. I've already pretty much stopped using MSN for personal use as I kept having rows with a certain friend as we fired off 2/3 word responses without thinking. We both decided that particular form of communication was just a tiny bit too immediate for us… However, recently I've been using Skype much more than email in the office as I often can't be bothered to open up my email client, so that will stay. Yammer has been a bit 'faddy' for me, I used it for a bit but it doesn't give me anything none of the other media do – so that's going.
Twitter is interesting me at the moment. When I first signed up it bored me rigid as the user base was mainly in the US and there were very few friends and contacts twittering in the UK. Now it's gained momentum this side of the Atlantic I've been using it more and more. I'll be very interested to see if it takes over from facebook for me over the next year. 

If I'm honest it's email that's looking redundant. It doesn't have the versatility and flexibility of some of my other methods – it's not instant and I can't have multiple-way 'conversations'. Frankly at times I find it all very 90s. Research I came across suggested that the under-25 demographic feel the same way. They claim to hardly ever use it – preferring text and IM. Unless someone decides to radically overhaul email as an application I predict over the next 5 years we will see email seem increasingly 'clunky' and the new snail mail as we all switch to instant forms of messaging. But where does that leave me with my communications overload? Help!
Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar