Rules of Engagement: The Smartphone Edition


Let me first issue a blanket apology.

I have been chastised more than once by people very important to me for not a timely manner..when they’ve tried to contact me.  This has applied across several modes of communication.

No disrespect intended.

But as you’ve read from me before in this space…it got me to thinking.

I wonder if there should be some kind of guideline that governs what mode to use (text, email, instant message, etc.) when you have something to say.  I know this subject is going to be quite..well..subjective.  However..I think there is a place for a way to decide which method is best to use.

Enter Cyrus Stoller.

A little while  back..he formulated some “rules” on what messages warrant which modes of messaging.  You can find his post here.

I’m going to adapt it just a little.   So here goes.

If you want me to get back to you in 30 minutes or less:  Call me.   Let’s face it.  That’s what the smartphone (operative word: “phone”) was made for anyway.  There is the instant gratification of actually having me answer and talk to you — on the spot.  And there are no funny little abbreviations or emoticons to get in the way.   You speak..I understand..end of story.

If you want me to get back to you in about an hour (or so):  Text me.  What you have to say is important.  After’re taking the time to say it.  But, chances are with the noise, hustle and bustle of the world..unless I’ve assigned you a special notification sound, I may not see you’re trying to reach me until later.

Side note to texts:  If the message you’re trying to get across takes more than a single thought bubble to convey…that’s an email.

If you want me to get back to you in a day (or so):  email me.   Depending on what I have to do during the day, I may not have a chance to check my email.  Plus..the corporate folks aren’t always very receptive to personal messages on company servers.  So, don’t be offended if I get home, unwind, have dinner, then address your question via email.

Side note to emails:  If you’re expecting a’d probably be better served picking up the phone.

If you don’t care if I respond or not:  IM me, DM me or tweet me. me..are best used when you’re throwing out a random comment.  I’ll likely respond in kind..but it’s not required.

Now that all that has been said, I’ll probably break every rule.   I would be interested to read your theories on which messages work best for you..and when people should expect a response.


Yeah..I just put up an emoticon.  So..sue me.

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