From the NYT:
AT a planning meeting I attended earlier this summer, a legal pad was passed and we were each asked to write our name and our “communication preference.”
Some people prefer e-mail, some prefer cellphones, some want to be sent a text message on their cellphones,” the leader of the meeting said. “We want to reach you the way you want to be reached.”
Time was when making contact meant finding someone’s phone number and dialing. You might connect with your party; you might leave a message. But you had done all you could.
Now contact means decoding the quirks of the person in question, the better to predict how to actually get your message through. And if you misread your target, it means the risk of a frosty response, or sometimes deafening silence.
Does he or she hate e-mail, letting it build up in the inbox, but quick to answer the cellphone on the first ring? Does the person refuse to carry a cellphone, but grab the office line through the Bluetooth that is literally attached to one ear? Is it solicitous or stalkerish to send an e-mail message, then leave an office message, then try the cellphone just to be sure?
(Nod to Anonyman)