Naturally, I prefer to communicate with other humans in person. Every other form of communication leaves something to be desired (and usually, that something is something big).
I’m quite sure that I’m not the only person in the world who has trouble picking up on the subtle cues found in all human communications. The hints of sarcasm (or, in my case, the never-ending stream of it), the smiles, the hand movements, the stances, the tones of voice. A lot of it falls under the umbrella term of body language. Body language is just something the Internet cannot do at all. The telephone, surprisingly, does it even worse (at least in my experience). So I like talking in person the best, because it gives me the best chance to pick up on all these cues.
So, my preferences as far as communications goes:
- Human contact one on one or in a small group.
- Human contact in a large group conversation (there’s a large gap between 1 and 2).
- Instant Messaging (I use MSN and Facebook chat the most). Simply because I can log it.
- Internet Relay Chat (IRC). If you don’t know what this is, just think chatrooms.
- Text messages (SMS).
- And, right down the bottom, in a dusty box underneath the staircase, talking on the telephone.
I think the reason I hate the phone so much is because the person who gets called (usually me) has no choice about when the conversation happens. I could be in the middle of something requiring a lot of concentration (such as programming or web scripting, which requires juggling dozens of variables and logical statements in your head) and the phone rings. Concentration lost.
Of course, if I like you enough, I’ll be happy to shelve whatever I’m doing to talk to you. It’s just that this category isn’t large enough for my boss to be part of it.