Lately, I've been experimenting with using Twitter as email to see whether it would streamline my digital communication efforts. As often as possible, I've used direct messages or @ replies to contact colleagues and other work buddies instead of email. So far, I like it. Here are a few things I've noticed right off the bat:
Benefits of Using Twitter as Email
For starters, handling business communication with Twitter is simpler than email, as I can participate in several conversations at once without too much clicking around. It's also faster: I generally receive Twitter replies in a matter of minutes rather than a matter of hours or days. Most of this is probably due to the medium. On Twitter, users are forced to be brief, direct and concise, which lowers the barrier for speedy responses.
Another unexpected benefit of using Twitter as email is that, at least in my experience, networking with strangers yields higher responses via Twitter than email. Incidentally, I prefer to get tips and pitches from others via Twitter.
Revelations on Email, Post-Twitter
I haven't ditched email entirely, but this experiment has definitely changed the way I view my inbox. Compared to Twitter's 140-character limits, my email missives look like long reads; accordingly, I check email less frequently and spend much longer on responses. There's still a lot of pomp and circumstance with email that Twitter largely omits.
I've also discovered that many of the emails I receive would have been far more effective if they were instead sent as tweets, as they required just a sentence -- and, in some cases, a word or two -- in response.
Increasingly, email is becoming my medium for longer emails to close friends and family, while I'm using Twitter to keep in touch with everyone else. Power Twitter users, have your email habits changed?