I spend a lot of my day answering email. I have to track all of my hours for my company and it turns out, in September, I spent 17 hours on email. That’s a part-time job.
My latest big project was as communications coordinator for TEDxDelft and the group of people I was working with were mostly very active social media users. Of course plenty of emails flew back and forth but, for the first time working on a collaborative project, I got a lot of DMs on Twitter rather than email.
I’ve often used Twitter in lieu of email, especially when contacting a company with a short question. I make reservations via Twitter and ask about closing hours. Though occasionally queries which require a fast response necessitate a phone call, more and more companies are staffing their Twitter account much the way they staff their phones. I also find Twitter useful personally, particularly when sharing a quip or a link to a friend or if I want to send the same short message to several friends.
I found Twitter to be much more useful during the project planning than email. The character limitations forces you to get to the point. While that also means it’s not a great medium for discussions that require longer responses, I find most emails don’t. My emails tend to be limited to 2-3 sentences, which could be shortened even further if I tried. Because I have unlimited (or nearly unlimited space, I use it. But when my space is limited, I make things fit.
Further, I find it faster. Because we get so much email, it’s easy to ignore messages. But I don’t get that many DMs on Twitter so I tend to respond faster. Knowing that the message will be short (often a yes or no, I find it much easier to reply immediately.
I’m finding myself using Twitter more and more to communicate, both professionally and personally and hopefully get some of those 17 hours back.