Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I used to love email. That was back in the 1980s, of course, when it simplified necessary communications, usually in a work setting. Personal email addresses? Only the elite geeks had those.

Next came a period where email exploded across the virtual landscape. Getting a personal email address was simple. Sending a note to Aunt Ida was easy - except she never seemed to receive it, so I finally resorted to snail mail…the one with envelopes and stamps.

* Yeah, I don't know if that's a good use of the word,
but it's an appropriate visual.
Now we're in an era where email is a virtual sharknado* of crap from unknown people. I mark most of mine as SPAM. I have elaborate folder systems and rules to capture emails I care about.

EMAIL IS DEAD. This is the Era of TEXTING. I have to send a text to let people know I sent them email.

FACEBOOK replaced email, too. There's some sort of Facebook messaging that I have to ignore.

When email first came out there were rules! Most people ignored them, which made them more important. The rules for email still apply, if you're interested.

1. USE A MEANINGFUL TITLE. "Hi" is not meaningful. "Concerning your stupid blog post" would be.

2. BE BRIEF. This is why TEXT now replaces email. Digital natives know how to be brief. U2? GR8. My inbox is full of rambling soliloquies on topics of no interest to me. I delete them.

3. BE SPECIFIC. And for goodness sake, if you're going to quote statistics, give me a link.

4. BE HELPFUL. If you're not trying to help me, why am I getting an email from you?

5. BE UPFRONT. IF you can't be brief, then at least give me a summary in the first sentence or two. Then when I delete it I'll feel like I accomplished something.

6. BE DISCREET. Limit the use of "Cc" and "reply to all" distributions. PLEASE. That "reply to all" thing still seems to baffle my coworkers. And they're rocket scientists. No kidding.

7. BE A FINISHER. If you need an action from me, better let me know clearly and in the first few words. Don't assume non-response is compliance. It probably means I deleted you.

Yeah, those are good rules, but Email taught me some simpler concepts.

·         You never regret an e-mail you didn't send. I've regretted lots that I did send though.
·         E-mail has no inherent emotion. It might sound funny in your head when you write it, but funny doesn't translate well on paper.
·         Don't send e-mail to people you don't know. That's what blogs are for.

Feel free to email me with your thoughts on this post!

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