Is it un­pro­fes­sional to use so­cial me­dia for business cor­re­spon­dence?

Hong Kong Tatler - - The Great Debate -

I pre­fer us­ing only emails, con­fer­ence calls or meet­ings for for­mal business cor­re­spon­dence. Even though I’m not an ac­tive user of new so­cial me­dia, I see Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and other ap­pli­ca­tions as in­tended for so­cial up­dates and chat­ting only. They should not re­place the more tra­di­tional means for business cor­re­spon­dence.

Of­ten, business cor­re­spon­dence in­volves a de­tailed con­text, re­fer­ring to pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions or seek­ing ac­tion plans and next steps. If some­one would like a well­con­sid­ered re­ply to his re­quest, rather than a few words or a piece­meal an­swer, he should also send a de­tailed and com­pre­hen­sive email, in­stead of mes­sag­ing “What do you think of this?” or “Any feed­back?”

I fre­quently find business peo­ple or pro­fes­sion­als us­ing What­sapp with very lengthy mes­sages in the hope of get­ting a more im­me­di­ate an­swer, but I per­son­ally find it so much more ef­fec­tive set­ting out the con­ver­sa­tion in an email, so that both par­ties re­ply­ing can re­fer to the var­i­ous rounds of dis­cus­sions, at­tach­ments, charts and num­bers in or­der to re­spond in a de­tailed man­ner.

Chow is a man­ag­ing part­ner at MCL Fi­nan­cial Group

So­cial me­dia in all its forms is a tool for any­one with some­thing to say and want­ing to reach a broad au­di­ence. It al­lows in­for­ma­tion to be dis­sem­i­nated to prac­ti­cally any­one in the world in an in­stant—a very pow­er­ful tool.

So­cial me­dia plat­forms host par­tic­i­pants in the mil­lions from ev­ery cor­ner of the world. If we con­sider for a sec­ond that tech­nol­ogy now al­lows for any and ev­ery bit of data to be ac­ces­si­ble to any­one and ev­ery­one in the world at any time of the day, then it’s log­i­cal for the more am­bi­tious to take ad­van­tage of this tool to help them get ahead in business.

Whether it’s un­pro­fes­sional to use it in business cor­re­spon­dence is com­pletely de­pen­dent on the in­di­vid­ual and the cir­cum­stances. In days of yore, if an or­a­tor’s dis­course was un­ac­cept­able, the crowd would pelt them with rot­ten vegetables—or stones. To­day, the au­di­ence is still able to give a re­sponse—or can sim­ply block any fur­ther com­mu­ni­ca­tion from an un­wel­come source.

I don’t be­lieve a per­son who uses so­cial me­dia for business can be judged as un­pro­fes­sional. Free­dom of speech must be ap­plied across all forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Li is the di­rec­tor of Tiberius Pro­duc­tions

CHAR­MAINE LI

EVAN CHOW

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