“Different (Key)strokes for Different Folks”
Once upon a time, two ham radio operators who wanted to communicate with one another had to first agree on a frequency.
More recently, someone who wanted to use their 300 or 1200(!) baud modem to get on the Internet had to do a “handshake” with the connecting service.
If you want to communicate with someone, you first have to establish which of a dozen or more platform(s) and media the recipient prefers:
You hear so much about how instantly reachable we all are, how hyperconnected, with our smartphones, laptops, tablets and such. But the maddening truth is that we’ve become so accessible we’re often inaccessible, the process of getting to any of us more tortured and tortuous than ever.
There are up to a dozen possible routes, and the direct one versus the scenic one versus the loop-de-loop versus the dead end changes from person to person. If you’re not dealing with your closest business associates or friends, whose territory and tics you’ve presumably learned, you’re lost.
There are some people partial to direct messages on Twitter and others oblivious to that corner of the Twitterverse. There are some who look at Facebook messages before anything else, and others whose Facebook accounts are idle, deceptive vestiges of a fleeting gregariousness that didn’t survive their boredom with Rebecca’s bread dough (“It isn’t rising! Tips?”) or Tim’s poison ivy (“Itching and itching! Remedies?”).
–Frank Bruni, “Sorry, Wrong In-Box“; The New York Times (9/1/2011)
To go along with financial bankruptcy, a few years ago someone coined the term “email bankruptcy”: when your email account is so inundated with unread messages that you simply close the account rather than try to catch up.