Do you communicate a lot using the internet? There is so much information flowing online between each other that it is hardly surprising that we get our wires crossed at times! Thank goodness peace talks have not moved to online conference calls (and if they have, then maybe that also explains a few things).
Recently I have had two occurrences on Twitter that have showed me the pit falls of this online communication tool. After I explain these two events I will then show different ways of communicating online and why I love them and hate them equally.
Using Twitter For ‘Chat’
Recently I made the following tweet:
Then I received a DM saying “I hope you’re not referring to me are you?” Eh oh…
Needless to say, I didn’t know what to reply with at first, but I felt I had to fix things as quickly as possible in 140 characters or less. I also felt I needed to tell my followers that I meant I had found my findings interesting and educational. By no means was I looking to upset anyone!
I’m very wary now of the wording I use on Twitter to avoid such confusion in future. I think the timing of the tweet was bad because I had recently viewed the person’s online work.
The second occasion involved chatting by DM.
Again you are restricted by character limit and the discussion was about two websites that were Twitter related. One is Buffer and the other is Twylah. Unfortunately wires got crossed as we were sending multiple DMs back and forth and the other party ended up explaining something via two DMs that I already understood because I had carried on talking about the other product but not referenced it (due to being restricted by the character limit).
Time is important to everyone, and most of all to the person who values it and uses it wisely. Needless to say they were frustrated and we had both learnt from the experience.
The Alternatives For Communicating Online
Here are the alternatives that I suggest using as soon as a conversation on Twitter starts taking shape and means you having to send multiple messages.
The most common way of communicating online. Love it or loath it, it is here to stay.
- Being able to write more than 140 characters.
- Send attachments
- Easily searchable to reference/read later
- Organise into folders, unread, reply later, etc.
- Time delay.
- Again you can start talking about two topics and get wires crossed, especially if you are quickly firing off Emails and misusing it as a realtime chat substitute.
- Sometimes hard to understand the tone in which it is written in. Are they angry, being sarcastic, enthusiasm, joyful, etc.
I loved using this as a tool to interview music artists when submitting content to various websites. It let me breath a little but allowed me to reply with a question depending on something they may have mentioned in the answer to the previous question. Instant messaging is still a powerful tool for communication, so much so that Skype include it even though they are primarily a VoIP service.
- No time delay in waiting for a reply (as long as the person is paying attention to the conversation of course).
- You can reply back instantly and question something more in depth.
- No character limit (You would be hard pushed to hit the limit in my experience when copying and pasting text).
- You can organise people into lists.
- I can still share files just like Email, if anything I can share larger files than Email allows.
- Again you can not always tell the tone of the conversation.
- If you leave yourself logged in, some people will always expect you to be available. This is where making lists are handy so you appear offline to certain groups of people.
- Quite often you need the other person to use the same software.
- Difference in time zones can make having conversations difficult.
Now we are talking! 😉
This is where I prefer to do my real conversation. Not because I like to talk a lot, but because I am impatient God damn it!
- I can hear the person’s tone of voice and understand their feelings more.
- If I have a question or misunderstanding it can be instantly corrected.
- I can still share files.
- If speaking to foreign or people with hard to understand accents (like me!), communication can in fact become more difficult.
- Not as easily accessible due to many mobile phone companies not allowing VoIP services to be used (or at least limiting data allowance with a fair use policy).
- Need the other person to use the same software.
- Again, difference in time zones can make having conversations difficult.
Due to broadband speeds increasing, this method is becoming ever more popular, especially in the arena of business meetings being held online.
- This time I can see facial reactions as well as their tone of voice.
- All of the other points I made for VoIP Service.
- Same dislikes as VoIP Services.
- I have to sort my hair out 😉
Which online communication method do you prefer to use for networking? Please share below!
Photo credit: farleyj