Chronicle September 2019 Edition
Wade Coye Attorney
How We Communicate
Navigating Talk, Text, Email, and More
physical mail is now a valued form of communication when, not so long ago, it was regarded as going the way of the dinosaur.
A few months ago, I talked about our new billboards. We decided to model them as text messages because that seems to be the most immediate and impactful form of communication today. People don’t always text for long back-and-forths or for official documentation, but I’m guessing when you have a message you need to get to somebody ASAP, you send it via text. It’s no different at our firm. We text each other all the time, and we’re increasingly finding that clients prefer to communicate via text for a variety of situations.
As email has grown out of favor in personal discourse, it’s become increasingly essential for business. To be a law firm in the state of Florida, you need an email address. That’s because official documents are now sent electronically. You can sign documents without ever picking up a pen. You can take photos with your phone to digitize text instantly. All of these advances have made email a very comprehensive form of communication, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient one. This brings me back to text messages. Texts allow us to convey information quickly and in a way we know will be seen as soon as the recipient is available. However, because it is informal, it’s not the best idea to reveal sensitive case information via text. Sometimes, the best text to send is one that says, “Call me when you get a chance.” Again, it’s all about understanding which method of delivery makes the most sense for a given message. All of this is to say that having different ways to reach out to one another is great, provided we use each platform mindfully and with a clear sense of purpose. As a firm, we love being able to text our clients if that’s what’s most convenient for them. But we also recognize that a text message isn’t the way to share every kind of news. In other words, it’s not that one communication method is inherently better than another, but rather that each has its own purpose. If we can’t see a client face to face for an important discussion, we’re going to want a video conference. If all we need to say is, “Things are moving along smoothly,” a text will suffice. We believe that meeting the needs of our clients includes speaking to them in a way that’s heard loud and clear. If that means texting you, we’re happy to do it. If that means sending a piece of mail by carrier pigeon, well, I guess we can look into it.
I remember a time when email was the hot new thing. If you wanted to send a message somebody would read, you sent it through email. My, how times have changed.
The technology we use to communicate always affects the way we speak to one another. Back in the 1800s, people wrote long letters that might not reach their recipient for days, weeks, or even months. Because of the delay, people would pour out the details of their life onto the page, writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about the big and small aspects of their existence. Today, that would be unheard of. I mean, honestly, when was the last time you composed a piece of interpersonal communication in paragraphs, let alone wrote it out longhand and sent it through the post? I’m guessing the answer is somewhere between “a long time ago” and “never.” Similarly, I remember a time when email was the hot new thing. If you wanted to send a message somebody would read, you sent it through email. My, how times have changed. In 2019, email feels antiquated. Most of the emails we receive on our personal email accounts are empty advertising we may never even open. The same way our physical mailboxes used to be inundated with junk mail, our email inboxes are now full of spam. In a reversal of fortune,
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