Platform lag

I was thinking about the different times it takes me to respond through different platforms.

Things that are important and urgent get dealt with reasonably well – they have to. But for things that aren’t important and urgent, (but are often ‘important/valuable/interesting’) it looks something like this:

  • Twitter – within 1 day
  • Facebook – within 2 days
  • Phone/voicemail – within 2 days
  • LinkedIn – within 2-3 days
  • Email – 1-2 weeks to never
  • IM – don’t use!

What does it tell us? F*** all, I expect. Other than email is the bottom of the heap. I just can’t keep up. And I don’t enjoy keeping up. Somehow I enjoy keeping up on Twitter, and LinkedIn is fine too.

Issues this throws up:

  • People waiting for email get pissed off when they see me idly chatting in Twitter
  • I feel extremely guilty about the email – that people think I think I’m better than them, but it’s not that
  • That the enjoyment of a given communication platform might be a point of leverage for product/service designers

How does it look for you?

4 comments

  1. divydovy

    Interesting Will, at least I know the best way to organise a bike ride with you now 😉

    Where does SMS figure?

    For me it’s less about the platform, more about triage. I don’t like having unread/notifications so tend to (a) deal with easiest stuff quickly (b) consolidate all my to-dos to one place (gmail) and (c) choose the fastest way to return comms.

    Sadly also, work comms mainly seem to trump personal in terms of priority 😐

    Instagram, Twitter and SMS and phone are for me the most enjoyable ways to respond. Enjoyable = likely to happen.

  2. Pete Burden

    V. interesting.

    I assume it is also a generational thing? I have used email for over 30 years and still religiously feel I have to clean it out. If I don’t answer stuff I fear I will die of shame and embarrassment. 🙂

    Even though most of it is not interesting or useful.

    Texting beats it though in terms of lag. And of course phone is above that. If you want me quickly – call.

    I can’t keep up with Twitter (I did try but being multi-stream defeated me). So now I just dip in and out – mainly out. FB etc are less likely to gain interest – like divydovy I also deprioritise the personal, preferring to focus on the people in front of me, and not those who are remote.

    Sorry old and distant friends.

  3. Matthew

    It’s either something to do with the allowable message size, or the expected response.

    Expected response in email is longer and considered.
    Expected response in twitter in quick and concise.

    And our perception of the effort required to produce these two maps directly on to your lag matrix.

    Here’s something interesting though, it’s less rude to not reply to a tweet (I think that’s relatively accepted, due to real-time half-lives, and follower ratios). But emails, one expects a response, but in practise I always respond to tweets, and frequently ignore emails. Go figure.

    • Pete Burden

      Its a really useful post Will. It has made me think about advertising my preferred means of contact better. It sounds like we all have different preferred streams – and telling other people which I prefer and how quickly I respond might help.

      Yes, people will find out eventually by not getting a reply or whatever – but they may also be somewhat offended.

      The question is: “where to advertise this?”

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