Do you three way………………………………………text?

First of all, get your minds out of the gutter. This is a serious blog about a serious, and growing, phenomenon– those who converse via technology with multiple people at the same time (i.e. polyconversationalists). That’s right–participating in three, four or even more conversations taking place at the same time.

What happened to mono convos (i.e. talking with one person at a time)?
What happened to mono convos (i.e. talking with one person at a time)?

Some of you (who I’ll call monoconversationalists) may be reading this and think, “appalling!” While others are reading this and simultaneously chatting with four friends about four different topics (gotcha!).

I conducted a brief survey yesterday on Twitter which asked, “Do you text/chat/IM more than two people at the same time?” The results? 37 people (or 82% said yes) while 8 people (or 18%) said no.

While this is not a formal survey, I do believe this accurately reflects the ratio of those who conduct multiple conversations at a single time.

According to one Twitter friend, “If you use Twitter aren’t you automatically engaging in multiple conversations?” Based on my personal experience, I would answer yes. One Twitter follower, @meresgreen makes the conscious choice to not engage in more than two conversations at a time. Another Twitter follower, @nwjerseyliz (and Top 50 Tweeple) also voiced her opposition to the multiple conversations at a time.

While both points are extremely valid, it appears that they are in the minority and that more and more people are polyconversationalists (new word, ha).

A great point to keep in mind, just because a person engages in multiple conversations in one social media vehicle does not mean they do it in all social media vehicles. Thanks @tcharles.

I must admit, I am very guilty of participating in multiple virtual conversations at one time. I could never accomplish this feat were I in face-to-face interaction, but as far as virtual conversations go I’m becoming a pro. Which begs me to ask the question–is this a positive or a negative?

What’s your opinion?

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4 thoughts on “Do you three way………………………………………text?

  1. It’s a positive, and allows for a certain level of “keeping in touch” even if it may not substitute for a single in person conversation.

  2. I have multiple conversations all the time. Usually IM (Yahoo and/or MSN) and sometimes Twitter. I do it more because I get messages from people and respond, I usually don’t initiate the multiple streams.

  3. I love threeways….texting that is!

    I’m definitely guilty of getting pulled into multiple conversations at once – IM, Twitter, Facebook wall posts, telephone, people coming into my office – it’s non-stop. If I limited myself to just two at a time, my day would never end! I think this is part of the asynchronous conversations these tools enable. I can get an @ tweet and I don’t think there’s any expectation that I’ll respond immediately, but that I will eventually respond. Maybe the problem is that we’re looking at this communication as a “conversation” with conversation defined as it always has been…time to re-define the word “conversation?”

  4. I’d have to agree and say I’m a conversation whore that is perpetually multi-tasking, otherwise, like sradick said, my day would never end!


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