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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Communication etiquette for technology users

Oct 07, 2018 04:38AM ● By Adam Cochran

Communication has become a very complicated matter in the 21st century.

When you call someone, do you even dial their phone number? Do you have friends or relatives who never answer their phone, but immediately answer a text? Do people ever ask you to contact them through Facebook?

How do you know the most appropriate method to get in touch with somebody so that you don’t waste their time or interrupt their day?

Understanding the etiquette of modern communication has very little to do with age or tech savvy. While there are no absolutes, there are matters of courtesy that should be considered when using technology to communicate.

Many people are still afraid to call a friend on their cell phone. Most cell phone users are on unlimited talk plans, so calling a cell phone is not the intrusion it once was when it cost people money to talk on the phone. Even on plans with limited minutes, most people text so much that they have minutes to spare.

However, the telephone requires immediate interaction. If the person is busy, they may let it go to voicemail. Most people screen their calls and will put off responding to voicemail until they have time and a quiet venue to listen.

Contrary to common sense, the phone is often not the best method for an immediate reply.

Texting is typically the most efficient form of personal communication. It usually doesn’t require formal introductions or sign-offs. If you need information from someone, just ask them via text.

The best part about texting is that you can send a text message at any time and the recipient will answer when they are available. That’s not to say that the recipient should wait days or weeks to reply, but a few hours is typically acceptable.

Email is not the preferred communication method it once was. Although it’s fast and free, very few people read their email every day—especially young people. It’s still an efficient form of business communication, and is excellent for occasional long-form communication or for sharing documents.

Facebook is another common venue, but its efficiency varies.

Almost everyone is on Facebook. Although it’s not the hot trend it once was, many people still use it for communicating with acquaintances they may not otherwise interact with.

Common uses might be reaching out to a long-lost friend from school or contacting a business for information. Facebook is the least formal of all communication methods, but it’s also the least traditional.

Communication via technology is still a new frontier. These are essentially just common understandings. The etiquette will vary by demographic, professional use and familiarity between the sender and receiver.

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