Communicatus interruptus: Which method to use?

Examine the hierarchy of urgency when deciding on a means of contact.

Examine the hierarchy of urgency when deciding on a means of contact

Have you ever stopped to consider how various communication tools impact the person receiving the communication? How about the friction and interruption costs of various products?

It’s an important question for communicators and business managers alike, so let’s walk through this together.

E-mail. E-mail is probably the simplest of communication tools. It is the lowest level of interruption. The person receiving the e-mail can choose to read it whenever he or she has a moment. It can usually be collected from multiple touchpoints and devices, and there are many ways to handle it. It can be any length (though I prefer brevity). Let’s call this Level of Interruption 1.

Twitter. The increasingly popular micro-blogging site is a great service for communicating, provided the other person is around and not flooded by other tweets that might push your message off the screen and downstream. It’s wonderful for fast, back-and-forth interactions. It’s not good for if you need something urgently. For instance, if you need a question answered by a co-worker immediately, don’t use Twitter, because it’s too easy to ignore. This is Level of Interruption 2.

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