I often get grief for avoiding the phone like the plague – which it kind of is, or more correctly has turned into, when communicating. Also, for me it’s more about phone usage ethiquet than the technology itself.
As I’ve discussed before, how we use the phone now, we mainly presume the person we are calling is not busy or is obliged to stop anything their doing to give the caller attention. It is also assumed it’s much more easier to converse via phone, yet I’ve experienced numerous times where there has been a misunderstanding, just because we treat the phone call as something that must be quick and efficient.
Reading that someone like Jay Rosen prefers IM when doing interviews is a statement I welcome with open arms. Mostly because we need to accept that at the end of the day, what has been written down, transcribed, is far superiour to what might have been said hastly over the phone.
Which is why I personally prefer email if I have to contact someone as a journalist or even as a customer. Some questions can often be more quickly answered via phone, but with written communication you have a hardcopy of what have been said during communication.
Unlike a phone call where you, depending in which country you are, must ask the reciever of the call for permission to record a call. With email, IM and even a good old hand-written letter you already have a legal transcript or a “recording” of the communication.
Furthermore, as Jay Rosen adds, it’s better for the journalist and the source to do the interview via IM, because then both have a transcript of the conversation. Putting pressure on both to be honest and truthful to each other and the public. Because how often haven’t we heard politicians claim that what they said was taken out of context.