When I talk about websites with my local clients, the discussion often turns to “most desired response” or MDR. I ask how they’d like to be contacted by a site visitor which usually involves two options, telephone or email. Typically it’s a 50/50 split as I’m dealing with small local business that aren’t very tech savvy.
What struck me when I read the comments about Twitter by Google CEO Eric Schmidt was that I no longer look to email as my most desired response. When I was building the new theme for this blog, I realized that I was more interested in funneling people to my Twitter, RSS, and Facebook, feeds/profiles than I was to email. In fact, in you look at the footer you’ll see ’email’ is there, but it leads to a contact page where I spell out a few other ways of contacting me in addition to email (and I’m thinking of dropping my actual address and putting in a contact form).
Don’t get me wrong, I still rely on email for communication with 100% of my clients and send at least a dozen emails each day. However on this site, email is the last way I’d like to make a new social connection. I’d much rather engage new people on these more modern, more public mediums which unlike email, allow me to communicate with all my connections in a simple, reliable and unobtrusive way.
When things get serious they always end up back in email, but services like Twitter allow you to begin a public, casual social relationship with almost anyone.
I don’t think this issue is about SPAM, I think it’s about the type of social connection, and the way in which email is seen as a mostly private, serious-business communication tool. Much the same way that MySpace, Twitter and Facebook evolved the concept of ‘blogging’, these same services are affecting email in a way that makes it look like a long form format.
This does not mean the MDR on COLEwebdev is Twitter. In fact it’s still email and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Now if someone wants to casually start following me, RSS and Twitter step in.
Eric Schmidt comparing Twitter to email makes him seem like a dinosaur. However he’s just trying to mold his response like Bill Gates would, so high up in the clouds that he’s comparing small technology shifts to decades old technology which is supposed to make him seem above small trivial issues that Twitter presents. It doesn’t work for Eric just like it never worked for Bill.
Note: This is a now ancient (and rambling) article I had started and never finished making it almost silly to publish now. Although when I picked it back up to edit and publish today I couldn’t let it go to waste.