I borrowed this topic from the #PostAWeek2011 blog, (The Daily Post). This topic is a relatively interesting one as we move further into the SmartPhone and cell phone era. Almost everyone has a phone, knows about texting and how to send texts. The question becomes, what is normal and acceptable when you are making the decision to call, text, IM or BBM (yes, I believe we should add that topic to the mix too). I guess that it all depends on the nature of the relationship that you share with the person.
Personally, it’s my belief that business relationships are still based on a phone call. I work in a business that requires me to call my contacts and discuss issues that are impacting our customers. Talking about these issues on the phone is far easier than trying to squeeze all of the necessary information into an email or text. There is also the opportunity to ensure that there are no misunderstandings when we talk on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, we do use email for business related information. Paperwork that used to be sent via fax, requiring paper on both ends, is sent electronically. Routine correspondence to confirm or update customer orders is also sent via email. This helps reduce the environmental impact that we are having in our daily operations, for sure.
I know that with family members, texting and BBM closes the distance when someone lives out-of-town or is on vacation. I do think that BBM poses a different issue than texting or email. All of these types of communications come directly to my phone. The difference is that I view BBM as a “conversation”, something that is interactive on both ends. I approach BBM conversations the same way I approach face-to-face conversations. I give them my attention, the trouble is that it is easy to get distracted.
When it comes to text or email, I look at these communication methods as less interactive and more convenient. The ability for me to respond to them from my phone is great. I don’t give them the same priority level as a BBM. I like the option of being able to leave a text or email for someone and know that they will get it at their convenience. That their response will arrive, “when they have time”. If I text or email someone I am not looking for that “engagement” that I am with a BBM.
When it comes to personal relationships and even dating, another entire level gets added to the mix, in my opinion. I am generally very private and guarded with my PIN and my phone number. Gauging whether to offer a phone number, email or PIN is always tough. Given that I see BBM as a more instant form of communication in my world, I generally like to reserve that for friends that I see routinely and make plans with often. That said, my PIN is on my personal card, so the potential is there for a professional or new contact to add me to BBM.
This question has been of interest to me for some time. I have raised it on Twitter in the past, asking about this BBM commercial, which suggests that people are relatively forthcoming with their PIN to allow BBM communication. The response I received on Twitter does not necessarily reflect the commercial. Most people say that they are relatively guarded with their PIN and prefer to reserve it for people that they know. I would think that from a dating perspective, the initial stages of dating are far better suited to the telephone and the two-way conversation. Failing that then IM (Windows Live Messenger, etc) works too. Once that connection is established then moving to texting and BBM is certainly a viable option, in my opinion.
What do you think? What are your thoughts? Do you generally call, text or BBM? Please leave a comment below, find me on Twitter or email me and let me know what you think. I look forward to your comments.