{23/09/2012}   Life before email

Sometimes I am almost overwhelmed by the genius of email and how quickly and easily pretty much everyone can be contacted in an instant.  However, I think it is a shame we can get very sloppy with email and how we utilise it.  I’m not going to bang on about how it’s stopped us writing letters and demonstrate what a Luddite I am at heart, but there are a few things that both bother and please me about email.

On the positive, I am in touch with friends overseas or who I see less frequently on a much more regular basis thanks to emails.  I also like that at times you can have an exchange of emails, knowing you’re both online at the same time; questions don’t always get answered when replying to emails but they often do when you have a live exchange.   It’s also a really easy way to share information, such as photographs or links or by forwarding information to multiple people, for example.

As for things like applying for jobs, internet shopping enquiries; it’s incredibly easy.  However, I know people who do recruitment and who often get significant cut and paste errors.  Plus, it seems that people don’t bother much with spell checking when it comes to the body of an email, which when you’re looking for employment is quite a major faux pas.

It is much easier to send your CV off to multiple people, but with that comes questions about the presentation; what is email etiquette for applying for jobs?  Do you write a covering letter that you attach?  Do you use the email space to introduce yourself?  Do you use Dear Sir/Madam?  So the list goes on.  I think it is too easy to make things inappropriately informal and looking like you’ve been writing en masse.

I have not worked in an office since the discovery of email, but I think it’s safe to conclude that people get more correspondence via email than they ever would have done in the fax and letter-heavy days of yore!  While it’s quicker to reply, it’s easier to send content that could get you in trouble, and people expect replies much quicker.

However, along with all this comes the huge annoyance of junk mail, a phenomenon that infuriates me, though I guess spam filters are fairly effective.

As for emails I send, particularly as I have a Smartphone, I do kind of assume people read them within a very short space of time after receiving them, thus I am prone to get annoyed if a reply is not forthcoming from an email I perceive to be important/interesting.  There is a sense of pressure to respond to emails.  However, at times you don’t have the time or inclination to respond and, as emails pile in, it’s then hard to remember them and that they need replying to.  It annoys me that I sometimes read an email I want to reply to but at the time I’ve read it (and often because it’s been read on my limited phone rather than on a computer) it hasn’t been the right time to respond, so I’ve left it and days have passed before I reply.  Also, when friends send newsy emails, I don’t absorb the content as much as I would if it were a letter, though sometimes I will print out really long emails so I can savour them more.

However, sloppiness and etiquette aside, I am happy that it is so easy and free (ignoring wireless charges, etc) to send and receive emails.  I just wish sometimes that I read and wrote them as carefully as I would write or type a letter; so long as I don’t start writing or receiving emails in text speak – c u l8r, LOL.


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