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January 5, 2009

Last year, I began thinking about the various ways we communicate with each other and the priority levels that we assign to each of the channels. While we can identify and agree on the different channels of communication, It is clear that the assignment of priority is a highly personal function.

Chris Brogan, one of my favorite social media mavens and bloggers, wrote an article in September on this concept. He described email, Twitter, text messaging and phone calls as levels of interruption.  You can see the post and the various replies HERE.

Here are the various channels of communication that I use in my everyday life, and the priority that I personally assign to each one.


I have left out face-to-face meetings which, in theory, get the most priority and attention. After that, I give the highest priority to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messages. There are very few people on my list, and they send very few messages. When I do get a message from them, it gets immediate attention.

Text messages come next, followed closely by Google Chat messages (they both show up on my phone instantly). Then there are Replies and Direct Messages on Twitter. I don’t always respond to these, but they do belong here since being immediate and timely with Twitter is important, in my opinion. Phone calls get my attention, but like Chris they will often go to voicemail.

The last two levels, Emails and Facebook messages, need their own sub-prioritization scheme since they represent the highest number of messages and the greatest variety of priority levels. These messages can be important project or client emails, invitations to events or a request from my long lost Nigerian business friend who needs my “help” to deposit his funds into my U.S. bank account.

These are my channels and how they fit my lifestyle…and this may change over time. My father, for example, who doesn’t use Facebook, BBM or Google Chat has a completely different perspective. It is important to consider these personal choices when attempting to communicate and/or market products and services to different demographics. Your channels and levels may be completely different than mine. What would your diagram look like?

About the Author

Evan Urbania

Evan Urbania is the CEO and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast Media. He can often be found cycling, reading obscure tech blogs, teasing the office dog or getting bored with new social media apps.

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