Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

February 27, 2013

Email, voicemail, text _ no response. What gives?

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That describes Mahrinah von Schlegel, who's working to launch a Chicago-based "incubator" that will offer shared office space and other resources for fledgling tech entrepreneurs.

"People get angry when not answered and send multiple messages," says von Schlegel, the 30-year-old managing director of the firm, known as Cibola. She says missed communication has caused her to lose some business deals. Often, it's when people try to contact her by Facebook or direct message on Twitter and she doesn't see the messages for days. Email, she says, is her preferred mode of communication.

But even then, she says, there are only so many hours in the day: "I still need time to eat and sleep and shower."

As she sees it, getting no response — even when she's the one unsuccessfully trying to contact someone — is just part of life in a high-tech world. A lot of young people say that, so they've become accustomed to having to try again, or try a different mode of communication if something is truly urgent.

"I think there's this understanding because we've grown up being bombarded by communication," says Mike Gnitecki, a 28-year-old special education teacher in Longview, Texas.

So he's willing to try "multiple points of contact" when trying to reach his students' parents — because, if he wants a response, "that's just how it is."

David Gillman, a 25-year-old Chicagoan, also opts for brevity and efficiency by sending mass texts to several friends at once to save time.

He only expects those who have time or inclination to respond, and doesn't take it personally if they don't.

It gets trickier, he says, with people from older generations, including his parents, because they like to leave him voicemails, which he doesn't like to take time to check.

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