Saying Goodbye: Keeping in Touch with Tech

Saying Goodbye: Keeping in Touch with Tech

Mike Tyson
May 27, 2011

Ah, moving day is fast approaching... And before all the tech photos are taken, and everything is neatly packaged, I mainly think about how I will stay in touch with people. Thankfully, in today's wonderful world of technology, there are several ways to go about doing that. People who should have my phone number already do, so I won't be giving that away to anyone. But there are other methods of communication out there. How do you decide levels of relationships and who gets what piece of contact information? After the jump I'll let you in on my system and the reasoning behind it.

The way I see it, there are four main methods which would allow people to stay in touch when one moves away: instant message, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Of course there are other perhaps more obscure methods but I'll only be focusing on the popular ones for today. My reasoning/hierarchy for who gets what level of contact rests on the principle of direct-ness of contact and how much I choose to be engaged in a conversation with someone, once I move away. The less I know you or less of a friend you are, the more disengaged or one-directional method of contact I will give someone.

1. Instant Messaging: This is my chief means of staying in touch online and I guard it religiously. I use Skype exclusively so not only is it an instant messaging service, but I use it to call and video chat with my friends when I'm out of town. Consequently, I am not keen on giving out my Skype name to just anyone who wants to stay in touch. This is only for the upper echelons of friends and family who I wouldn't mind interacting with on a daily basis.

2. Email: Second down the line is email which I am still very protective over. In fact, I'm very careful to have a separate email address to filter email blasts and corporate subscriptions so I'm not constantly inundated with needless messages. Same goes for acquaintances. No one will get my personal email unless I really want them to. But I am not as strict with my email communications as I am with IM because the level of interaction is less frequent and direct. I don't feel as obligated to respond immediately like I am with an IM service. And conversations tend to be more brief and less frequent.

3. Facebook: Some may say that Facebook should be above email since it is opening private information about yourself to people and why would you want that? But I personally don't put much private information on Facebook which feels more like a default place to lump in people who I know but don't wish to interact with them directly like with email and IM. People still feel connected to you, however, because they're reading your wall or looking at your pictures, etc.. The occasional Facebook chat or message is much more easy to handle than constant emails back and forth with someone you're not too close with.

4. Twitter: This is the final catch-all for anyone I sort of know or don't like but feel obligated to give them something (out of my sheer kindness). Twitter feels like a wholly one directional method of communication. You write your tweet, post it, and you're done. No obligation to retweet or respond back to people if you don't want to. This way, your semi-acquaintances will still feel satisfaction in reading your thoughts but there is no pressure whatsoever to communicate back and forth with one another.

Am I being overly protective? I'm curious to hear how others have dealt with moving away and distributing their contacts out to the masses of friends, family, acquaintances, or otherwise.

(Images: Flickr member mexindian, Flickr member Jorge Quinteros licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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