In light of our recently improved group chat feature, we’ve been attempting to implement group chat here at TeleMessage. Last week, the team leader of every department was invited for a meeting on how to do this. All kinds of interesting issues arose during this meeting, but the major question that came up was: what kinds of messages are sent via group chat, and what kinds of messages are sent via email? What messages are appropriate for text, and what messages are appropriate for email, specifically in a business or corporate setting? In what instances can text messages replace email?
Email is probably the most widespread form of “professional” communication since 1993. Why?
• It provides a written record. Messages can be centrally stored and archived, and the history of replies or forwards can be maintained. (This is why we’re seeing more and more enterprise mobile messaging platforms that provide text message administration, security and archiving.)
• It is most likely that everyone you work with has an email address, and you probably have access to a company address book. Email is pretty universal.
• It’s easier to send a large number of files via email. Not that you can’t send files via text message, but it’s not as conducive for sending a large number of files, especially if they take a while to upload.
• Email is less “urgent”. You can take your time writing a well-thought out email because your recipient isn’t waiting for you to respond right away.
Text Message/SMS/Group Chat
Text messaging (or IP messaging if you’re using a messaging application that sends messages over the Internet and uses push notification technology) is becoming a more and more popular communications tool to use within the workplace. When is it OK to use text messages and what for?
• It’s “immediate”. If you have a data plan, or if you have access to Wifi, you’ll receive the text message right away, especially if your phone is on you at all times.
• Text messages are best for brief messages, i.e., “I’m going to be sick today” or “I’mrunning late”.
• You can conduct a “conversation” in real-time wherever you are.
The Bottom Line
So how are we implementing group messaging at TeleMessage? So far we haven’t instituted any rules except to use one’s discretion when sending messages via group chat/text message/IP message. If there’s something your team needs to know immediately, or have exciting news to share (e.g., we release a new version of our app or someone has a birthday), send it in the group chat, not email. We also implemented a company-wide group in which our CEO likes to remind us frequently to clean up the kitchen and to remember to recycle our bottles and cans ( 🙂 ).
How do you communicate in the workplace? What do you use email for? Does your organization text messaging or group chat? Join the conversation!