Tuesday, December 21, 2010

E-mail, slow and boring?

In the New York Times this morning:

The problem with e-mail, young people say, is that it involves a boringly long process of signing into an account, typing out a subject line and then sending a message that might not be received or answered for hours. And sign-offs like “sincerely” — seriously?
But seriously, does anyone expect that an e-mail close with sincerely? Wouldn’t such a close mark the sender as quaintly out of touch with the conventions of the form?

The important point here though has to do with expectation and attention — the expectation that you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, are ready to pay attention to me: a customer-service model of human relationships.

A related post
E-mail etiquette (On closings)

comments: 5

Pete said...

Another nail in Yahoo's coffin.

Sara said...

When people don't answer my emails within five minutes of sending, I assume they died.

Is this wrong?

Michael Leddy said...

Pete, yes, it’s difficult to say what Yahoo is for these days, aside perhaps from old e-mail accounts.

Sara, it may be a little morbid. But who’s to say what’s wrong?

Elaine said...

I adore e-mail. It cares whether I slept through the night-- and doesn't want to disturb me in the bath. It leaves a written record. It waits til I want to see what it has to say.

I want to put in a good word for clunky old e-mail.

Sincerely,
Elaine

s c o t t said...

I'm not sure how young the "young people" that The Times is referring to are, but perhaps they are so young that they don't have a real job yet.

Email for work is critical and probably will be for a long time. Admittedly, I don't use personal email as much as I used to, but it's still nice when thumb typing just won't do, or when you really need to make a point without a two-way conversation happening. The delay factor forces you (and your reader) to digest it maybe just a smidge more than the sometimes too quick texts (http://damnyouautocorrect.com/ -- if you want a good example!)

That's not to say I don't send an informal text to my boss to say "dude, are you ever gonna answer my email???".... See, both have their place!