Who wrote in last to you? A letter, I mean. Banks, insurance companies, utilities, stores, the government? Apart from the odd wedding card or two, surely there was nothing in the post from anyone who cared or vice versa, right?
Take a look at your personal inbox tomorrow morning. And count the number of mails from people and those from someone trying to sell you something, or remind you to pay your bills, or update some information, or help you go through a summary of yesterday’s news, or the upheavals in the stock market. It’s rapidly going the same route.
No, not all of it is spam. Its junk. Yeah, there’s enough of it to warrant making a distinction between stuff you don’t mind seeing but don’t really care about or read too often, and that which you certainly didn’t ask for, or want, and get seriously irritated by.
But the fact is, as marketers figure out that enough people are using a given communication channel, they want in.
It’s started happening on Facebook walls as well. In fact, one might contend that the Facebook wall works better as a cause/brand to believer/fan communication platform than as something you use to converse with folks at a personal level.
So is Twitter. It’s either a topical discussion, or one with a brand that mostly happens on the 140 character stream of thought.
Yeah, direct messages are another thing altogether. As are Facebook messages (thankfully, FB email ids never became popular). Channels on which the communication is more directly initiated by the owner of the account, is one to one or one to a few, and that need some sort of an opt-in from both the sender and the receiver for sharing ids and permitting messages are becoming more popular. Phone book based ones such a Whatsapp are, in fact, snapping at the heels of Facebook itself.
Somewhere, I think, we desire a way to keep lines open with those whom we make small talk and share personal thoughts with, without clutter. This is probably one reason chat will not fade out anytime soon. Those designing social tools and strategies might add well respect this need and not force their way in surreptitiously. We don’t want to worry about spam filters in the middle of our most intimate conversations.