Well, I have a solution for you. Following is a list of my top five online greetings, which can be used in texts, emails, or (rarely) even in person.
- Hello – This is my go-to greeting. It’s plain, simple, and not likely to be interpreted in a snide, sarcastic voice. The recipient of this greeting is instantly going to know that you want to open a discussion. They just won’t know what that discussion is about.
- Hey – This is a less formal version of “Hello.” I normally only use it in professional circles, like instant messaging someone when I want them do do some work. The informal nature of the greeting puts them off guard. Usually I follow this up with a blitz of text to describe every aspect of the problem at hand. Also, “hey” reminds old IBMers of an ancient instant messaging client they used to use before messaging was cool. Way before*.
- Hola – Another “Hello” variant. Use this when you want to appear exotic. “Hola” is in another language! Just don’t use this on anyone who actually speaks Spanish. They might respond with a string of nonsense, which is a terrible way to start a conversation.
- Good morning – Be careful using this one. Not all times are morning and if you use it during the wrong part of the day people might think you’re crazy or foreign. Also, don’t even bother trying to use this on anyone overseas. The math involved in figuring out the time difference is really not worth it. Stick to “Hello.”
- Hi – This greeting is what I refer to as a lazy man’s hello. It’s quick and to the point. The best followup message to “Hi” is ten minutes of complete silence. Wait for the recipient of your message to closely consider all of the avenues that the conversation might take, then attempt to avoid the obvious ones. If you happen to be messaging in a format that tells the other person when you are typing then make sure you always have the indicator active. Keeps them on their toes.
Well, that’s all for this week. Stay tuned and maybe some day I will teach everyone a technique to saying “OK” to something without using so many characters. After all, you only get so many keystrokes before you die. The wise conserve.
*I have only my memory to go with here, since Googling “hey” doesn’t seem to yield any useful data. If I remember right, there used to be a client called “hey” on AIX that developers used to chat. Not too long ago people could still be heard using the phrase “send him a hey,” which meant “send him an instant message”. Lotus Sametime took over years and years ago, but we IBMers like to hang onto our language idiosyncrasies.