The text sent to the families of those lost on Malaysian Flight MH370 has been widely criticized for being insensitive. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/missing-malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-distraught-families-told-by-text-message-to-assume-beyond-doubt-no-one-survived-9212722.html
In contrast, the last blog of Geriatric1927 was incredibly touching: ‘In conclusion, I would say my possibly final goodbye. So goodbye.’ Here is his last YouTube video. If you don’t have 5 minutes, listen to the last minute. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wegn36u75Cs&list=UU9pKXHIbEZXelvUgyNIStMw Peter Oakley died a month later at 86 years of age.
Any media can be used appropriately or inappropriately, but there is no simple principle about face-to-face communication always being the best medium. I recall when sending a short telegram of congratulations was one of the greatest messages you could convey. Likewise a text message can be a perfect way to contact a close friend if used well and with sensitivity.
Hopefully, the MH370 text will remind many to consider the potential impact of what we say on any medium, whether a tweet, a text, a call, a Webcast, or a conversation – and also to forgive people we they get it wrong.