The 10 Levels of Modern Communication

With so many different ways to communicate; which ways are more important and meaningful than others?

My coworker Joël and I were today discussing the different ways we can communicate and how “serious” each was. From lightest-weight / most innocuous to most intimate and serious, we came up with the following:

  1. Facebook poke, friending someone on Facebook
  2. Twitter @person, Facebook wall post or picture comment, MySpace comment
  3. Twitter direct message, Facebook message, MySpace message
  4. Instant message
  5. Email
  6. SMS / phone text message
  7. Attending the same event
  8. A phone or Skype conversation
  9. Meeting one-on-one
  10. Handwriting a letter
This is hopefully a helpful guide for people deciding how meaningful a communication with another person is. It’s sorted almost directly by emotional weight as well as exposure and intimacy with the other – for instance, knowing someone’s handle doesn’t expose much, but their phone number is a more personal thing (and harder to control), and a home address even more so.
It’s amazing to me that handwritten letters are effectively the most esteemed and valuable forms of communication to our generation. I probably receive a full handwritten letter in the mail about once every other year and it’s always a profound experience. In high school, I’d send and receive several a week.
It may be an interesting reflection to note that I can barely write legibly and my hand cramps now after about a paragraph. I just never use those pen muscles anymore.

Author: dweekly

I like to start things. :)

3 thoughts on “The 10 Levels of Modern Communication”

  1. With all the irony that this sort of comment entails, if you read my post on this subject, I refer you to my blog response. Were we more closely connected these days I would just call and offer my response with all the intonation, love, criticism, and collaborative banter that would go with it. In lieu, or in preparation?, of that, I offer this: http://laurennroth.com/?q=node/187

  2. Yes, I agree writing a letter is strangely more intimate now than meeting in person. At least, more than most meetings. For one thing it creates a permanent difficult-to-repudiate record of what was actually said, meaning, you’re more committed to it than mere speech. For another it’s rarer, much rarer. And these days usually used only for the most profound emotional messages such as letters left to one’s heirs.

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