The Art of Electronic Etiquette

I can easily think of a number of occasions where a carefully thought out and well-written email has been met by something like:

Yes. Send now.


Im waiting for docs need to talk.


Yes buy no luck.

I usually have to take several deep breaths before attempting to reply. Then, once I’m ready to reply, take a few more deep breaths and walk a lap around the room. Even then I want to reply, David Thorne-style, with, “So, where do I buy ‘no luck’?”

I’m livid at the vagueness of the replies, but also the abruptness. It doesn’t matter that each message is post-scripted with “Sent from my iPhone” or some such. The last time I checked, all smart phones (and even the old dumb ones) have all the letters of the alphabet, all the numbers, a key for spacing, and a few odd ones for punctuation.

I feel like saying, “Do you wash behind your ears?” Yes, it takes effort, but it’s the right thing to do.

Time and time again we are faced with situations showing us it’s not what we say, but how we say it. Prime time situation comedies structure entire scripts around such communication issues (“But Jenny, that’s not what I meant! I love YOU, not Maggie!”). With much anecdotal evidence at hand (I’m sure there’s research being done), I feel that while email, texting, and social media has increased the quantity of communication, it has actually decreased it’s quality.

Remember when you opened the mailbox to discover a hand-written letter addressed to you?
Remember when you could read the handwriting of said letter?
Do you feel the same glee when you receive an email or text as when you receive a letter through the post? Why is there a difference?
Is the difference because of the quality, the quantity, or the effort needed to create the communique?

Is our technology making us stupid or catering to our innate laziness?

Electronic media is already impacting our ability and perceived need to handwrite (ie, some school curricula now exclude instruction in cursive). Is electronic media also impacting our ability to construct complete sentences?


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