Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How can I contact thee, let me count the ways...

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to send a message to a friend, and it occurred to me that for some of my friends, I now have a multitude of methods to contact them. Remember the old days, when the only option was to call them on the phone? If they were home, great. If not, maybe you left a message with someone else, or you left a message on an answering machine, or, if they had neither, the phone just rang and rang and then you just had to call back another time when you thought they might be home.

But now:

1. phone - Yeah, that still works, but for some people, I have multiple phone numbers for them: home, work and cel.

2. texting - For some people, I know that they will accept texts, so for them, texting is an option that I can use to send them a message. And I can even send pictures in texts now.

3. email - Email has been around for a long time now, but I sometimes have multiple email addresses for people, especially if they have a separate email address for work, but some people also have multiple personal email addresses that they might check at various times.

4. Twitter - For anyone who's on my Twitter feed, I could send them a tweet publicly or I could send them a direct message, which is private and only goes to them to see.

5. Facebook - For anyone who is my "friend" on Facebook, I could post to their wall (if they have that enabled), or I could respond to one of their status posts, or I could send them a private message.

6. discussion board - I'm a fairly active member in a particular discussion board, so I could respond to one of their posts on there, or I could send them a private message, or I could leave them a public message on their profile.

7. blog - If the friend has a blog, I could respond to a blog post and leave a comment. If they've left a comment on my blog and have it set up to receive all further comments to that particular topic, I could respond after them, and my response would be sent to them as well.

8. home - And of course, I could just show up at their home, but then that would be stalkerish. ;)

There have been a number of occasions when I've had to figure out the best method of contacting someone, usually driven by the urgency of when I need them to get the message and what I think they might be inclined to see first. Sometimes, it's also driven by how private the message is. Of course, if it's not for public consumption, then I could either text or email or direct message. But if it's something I might want others to see, then I could use Facebook or a public tweet.

So many options! :)

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