E-mail is a great coomunications tool for reconnecting and keeping in touch. It allows one to reconnect with an old friend, catch up with relatives, or to meet professional colleagues. Just today I received an email from an old roomate, one whom I have not communicated with for about 15 years.
A study by Buckner (2003) indicated that people consider email correspondence to be instrumental in forming social contacts through frequency of communication and facilitation of contact with people who tend not to be easily contactable in other ways. The study suggested that email is used for shallower but more frequent chat that may be personally valuable while other communication channels (phone and personal letter writing) are used to express greater depth of feeling and/or emotion.
True enough. Text on a screen fails to display any emotion. In fact, I am sure many have experienced having to explain (through even more e-mails) what was meant in a message when an incorrect intonation was applied by the reader. In some cases the writer and reader get upset with one another because of the series of messages (lacking accurate emotion) that follow.
YackPack is another way to stay connected to your family and friends. Yackpack is a web service which has taken founder BJ Fogg two years and over $100k to develop. YackPack is simple, web-based voice messaging for groups. The site states to "Think email, but with voice."
After logging onto the site the user sees a visual depiction of their YackPacks. and send an audio message to one or to all members of a predefined YackPack at once. Then is is a simple click, record and send. Since the system is asyncronous and requires the other YackPackers to log into the system to retrieve the audio "blast" message. A three minute tutoral is available to guide users through the creation and use of the system.
Buckner, Kathy and Mark Gillham Using Email for Social and Domestic Purposes: Effectiveness in Fulfillment of Interpersonal Communication Motives. Presented at H.O.I.T 2003.
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