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Etiquette for sending private messages: text, audio, or video?

Whether privately messaging someone via email, social media DM, or mobile text, which is better... writing, audio, or video?

Here's my personal rule:

1. Writing is most respectful because it's the quickest for the other person to read.

2. The more of a relationship I have with someone, the more they'll likely be patient enough to listen to my audio / watch my video message to them... yet, if it's something I'm asking for / requesting, it's still more respectful to write if possible.Β 

3. If recording audio/video, try to keep it under 1 minute πŸ˜… and more about sharing emotion... not information, which can be shared via writing.

4. Except if I'm volunteering help to someone / doing them a favor, then audio/video longer is fine, but aim for no more than 3 minutes unless it's reallyΒ superΒ helpful to go longer πŸ˜„

5. Another exception -- if I'm responding to a client/student on a Q&A call and it's a video that will be watched by others, then of course, going longer (as you know I do!) than 3 minutes is normal πŸ˜‚


What are your feelings when receiving a private message from someone you don't know super well?  Do you prefer writing, audio, or video?  Comment and let's discuss below.  You're allowed to disagree with me 😊

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Last updated 22 Dec 2023.

7 comments

Mike Wang
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I prefer written communication unless I know someone pretty well. It’s the fastest way for me to process. I know the intention of audio and video is usually warmer and/or more personal, but I have to listen or watch it in real time, when I have time. And if I don’t have that type of relationship with the sender, I’ll often end up leaving it unlistened or unwatched.Β 

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Reply 2 months ago
Heather Tobin
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For me it's all person dependent.Β  I always start with written communication.. but then once I have more of a rapport, if there's a bit of dialogue then I'll ask if I can send them a voice note to respond to something they've asked about.

Client wise -- I have Voxer as an inclusion so they can expect written or voice.

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Reply 2 months ago
Mary Veerkamp
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@Mike WangΒ @Heather TobinΒ 

As the Quakers say, "this friend speaks my mind"

Both of these responses resonate for me and are in line with my own practices.

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Reply 2 months ago
Judy Solomon
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I do prefer written messages or voice messages, than videos.

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I prefer sending written communication. As far as receiving communication - if I know you and we have some kind of relationship, then I don't really care how you communicate with me. But until a relationship has been established, written works best for me

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Anastasia Salichou
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It depends, on the person, how well I know them and how much I want to share. If I'm outside but want to reply to someone, I will probably send an audio message. Sometimes it;s nice to hear other people's voices. and if someone creates a personal video to talk to me, then I appreciate that


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Just tend to do what makes sense in the moment. Decreasingly a fan of rules, mine or anyone else's β™₯️
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