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What? You have e-mail issues too?

Shockingly enough, I am not the only one who has e-mail pet peeves.

I had one comment on my original post, but here are some from one reader:

These are not in order of importance:
1. Little happy dancing figures (excuse me, I'm not that happy);
2. Shouting: lower the cap lock. I'm not the one who attacked you;
3. FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: (clean up the subject line);
4. Not cleaning up copious e-mail addresses on forwarded messages;
5. When emailing back and forth concerning a comprehensive project, at least delete last months' portion of the thread!

More will come later I'm sure but this is the best I can do with no notice.

Here is another, very different take on e-mail:

In reference to your request for more problems with the way we use e-mail and blogs, let me suggest the following. There is a tendency for e-mails to become very informal and to treat them as though they are conversations and not start out with a salutation like the person's name or a closing line like "Thanks and your name". It is as though people are trying to turn e-mail into IM. While one can do this, I don't think it is wise. If you want to have a conversation with the person, than you should use a telephone. E-mail should be treated like mail. You should force yourself into a more formal style and think before you hit the enter key. What you say is a permanent record. While this is often great, you should be careful of what you say, not just for fear of someone else reading it, but so you can read it later on and make sense of it yourself, or send it to someone else and let them make sense of it. This implies that you should often repeat things and give more background so everyone really does understand what is being said. Yes, it is more time consuming, but it makes up for it in less confusion. Another problem with trying to turn e-mail into IM is that several minutes or hours or even days can elapse between e-mail letters. This will easily break any conversational element that was going on. It is difficult to remember what exactly you were thinking even a few minutes before, much less a few hours or days. I think people should leave IM for casual conversations with friends and use a more formal style of e-mails for work related conversations.

I have labeled these thoughts as etiquette. Such rules as "always begin with a salutation" and "end with a closing thought," etc, are often considered business etiquette rules and tend to be abandoned in our search for speed and friendliness. But rules of etiquette usually came into existence for some very practical reasons. It is true that they can become obsolete and need to be modified or discarded, but first it is good to understand why they are there and the consequences of losing them, before you decide to discard them. Taking this attitude towards e-mail might even remind a person to put their words through a spell checker and grammar checker first before they send them.

While I am sure there are deficiencies and errors in this e-mail, I believe a less formal approach would have allowed far more errors.

Yes, I still wear a suit and tie to work, even though I would prefer a Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans.

Just my thoughts (which is a more modern way of saying: Sincerely yours)

Obviously there are very divergent thoughts out there.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 24, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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