I was recently reading an article about writing for people on mobile devices. This means your writing should be short and to the point—that’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a good rule of thumb. But after seeing Internet pages on my cell phone, I wonder how much is too much.
More and more we are becoming a mobile society and that has its advantages, but shouldn’t we draw the line somewhere? I know many people now check and respond to email through their Blackberry mobile devise or other mobile devise. For quick messages to indicate you’re out of the office this is fine—but I personally don’t think business should be done on a Blackberry or any other cell phone device. Why? Because being limited to a character count your message can be misconstrued and not clear. You can’t run a full blown business in a few short words.
I’ve recently had this problem. I was contacted about some freelance work and each time I’ve inquired about the specifics of the project, I get a short message with no details and underneath the message it informs me it was sent from a Blackberry device.
If you travel with your work and have to keep up with it on your mobile device, this is great—just don’t use it as your only way to communicate. Most people own a laptop with wireless capabilities these days and wi-fi hotspots are on just about every street corner—even in rural areas—check out McDonalds. Not to mention that Netbooks with built-in broadband are extremely cheap these days.
I recently sent out a guest blog post to another writer. The message I received from him was the way business should be done when mobile. He simply explained he was traveling and would get back to me when he was at his computer. He did not try to conduct business with 500 characters from a mobile device. I like this guy.
Updating Twitter, Facebook and Myspace from your mobile device is one thing, but if you want to run a business, please do it from your computer so you can give specific details in replies to queries. If you’re away from your computer, then explain you’re mobile and will respond as soon as you can (from a computer or Netbook.) This is not only more professional, it shows that you care about how you conduct business.
If you’re wondering; Yes, I am one of those people who form perfect sentences and use proper grammar when I send text messages on my cell phone. The few times I’ve had to use this new txting language—I simply cringe. LOL is about the only thing I don’t cringe at. Shortcuts like msg, l8tr, txt, pls, plz, drive me nuts. Does it mean I’m old-fashioned and behind the times? No, it means I truly love our written language and I hate to see it botched all to hell and back—and maybe I am old-fashioned because I’m also one of those people who believe the reader wants to see the personal side of the writer—they want to see a little bit of purple prose in what you have to say. Writing tight and short messages is necessary at times, but don’t forget the human side of doing and running a business.
Go mobile if you must and let your contacts know you’re mobile, but run your business professionally—from your computer—not your mobile device. Grab your laptop and find a wi-fi hot spot—that’s what I do when I travel.
Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29881930@N00/2086643318/