Remember when we wrote letters to communicate? We’d send a letter, wait several days, then hopefully receive a reply in the mail.

Then there were fax correspondences. Now it’s email and texting. The channels keep changing (even when most of them are still around).

Which should you use?

Maybe your go-to communication channel is the phone. You’ll call someone, but be forced to leave a voicemail because few ever pick up. Then hopefully within a couple of days you’ll get a return call.

We often choose a channel based on response time. For most, that means we choose between email, texting, and social media direct messaging. Occasionally we’ll still pick up the phone. Occasionally.

Everyone simply wants an audience to hear what’s on their mind and get a quick response.

With texting quickly becoming the favorite go-to channel of communication over email, be careful. If you abuse it, it will stop working as effectively.

Here are five tips for protecting your communication channel (especially texting):

1. If the response can wait, use an alternate (slower) channel.

There’s nothing worse than an interruptive text message that isn’t urgent. If the message doesn’t demand a quick reply, use another channel (such as email).

2. Don’t use the fastest channel all the time.

Everything you communicate is usually more important to you than to the receiver of your message.

Think about them when determining the communication channel. Don’t use the fastest, most interruptive method every time or people will slow down response time or ignore your information.

3. Be clear and concise. Only require a simple response.

Consider the channel of communication you’re using and write your message accordingly. Then edit it before you send it.

Make sure your ask is also clear and doesn’t require a response that is difficult to construct on that channel.

4. If it needs to be archived, make sure it’s in a channel that’s easy to save.

Text messaged information is often difficult to find later and complicated to archive. Emails are much simpler! If it needs to be saved or used later? Don’t text it.

5. Know the appropriate standard for the channel of communication.

Most people want a very short, urgent message for text. In return, expect only a few words, an emoji, a gif, or an easy-to-understand photo.

Email can be a bit longer, but no one appreciates a novel being delivered via email. Edit. Edit. Edit! The shorter the paragraph the easier it is to read, and respond to!