phoneHave you seen this column in the New York Times about redefining etiquette in the digital age?

Yes, communication is changing. One of my daughters doesn’t even have voicemail on her mobile phone, and both of my kids pretty much ignore emails, especially ones from their parents. They like texting instead.

But would you consider a thank-you email a waste of time? Sure, routine thank-you messages can seem annoying. And yet, sometimes when a client does not acknowledge receiving a report I’ve sent them, I discover a few days later that they haven’t seen it. Perhaps it’s caught in a filter. If I get a thank-you email, I know the report is in the client’s hands.

What about voicemail? I abhor long-winded voicemails chock full of details that would work better in written form. But phone calls are relatively rare these days, compared to emails, so sometimes the human touch of voice can cut through the e-clutter.

In his NY Times column, Nick Bilton states that his father left him a dozen voicemails, but Bilton never listens to voicemails.

Ah, there’s the rub.

Why not communicate with people in the way they prefer? I know my kids are not enthusiastic about replying to emails, so I rarely send this kind of message to them. In my business, certain clients prefer phone calls over emails; others like the brevity of instant messaging. So that’s how I communicate with them. It’s not about me; it’s about the people I communicate with.

What do you think?


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