I recently wrote a column about what I labeled Appropriate Communication Syndrome (ACS). Here’s my definition:
It is the condition of being uncertain about the appropriate way to contact and communicate with another individual. The condition is sometimes accompanied by confusion, social anxiety, an inability to act and self-questioning. Certain individuals appear immune from the syndrome, and consequently communicate with excessive frequency.
I’m sure you’re familiar with this phenomenon. (By definition, blog readers suffer from ACS.) You want to contact someone, but then you start to think: Should I send email? A text? Or would Facebook be better? Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from a high school friend — I sent her an email about getting together — and I’m realizing a phone call might be better. But it’s hard to keep track of this, what with our communications preferences shifting all the time. As I say in the column, “Before the internet, there was the phone. The main issue was whether or not to leave a message on someone’s answering machine. That was it.”
Things sure have gotten a lot more complicated.