Y’all. Lol. Hey. These are all words that I can’t use when I write emails, and that is mighty unfortunate because I use those words a lot.
It’s not that I hate email as a service. Quite the opposite, really, as I think it’s very useful. I just hate how formal and ridged it is. The only people I’m emailing nowadays are professors when I have a question, or companies when I want them to hire me. I hate doing that. I hate using a nice greeting and being extra polite because they don’t know me and it’s hard to tell intentions through words. I hate having to re-read my message sixty times before I hit send bcause if there’s a typo, I can’t send another email that just says: *because.
Email is the most used communication tool in businesses, but there are studies that show that other forms of communication like instant messaging are more effective because they’re faster and less formal. I subscribe to this theory.
I am so much more comfortable contacting someone through messaging. Fast, casual, with emoticons and slang. And because so many people probably feel the same, it just makes our collective email use so much worse. For example, if someone didn’t put a greeting in a text/instant message, no one would be offended. Just get right into it. Good. But with email, it could be seen as rude to do that. And there’s no rule book, so chumps like me are left struggling and rewriting emails so I can raise my chances of not offending the recipient, who, honestly, is going to spend twenty seconds reading my email.
Another example is in terms of last words. One time I emailed a prof explaining that the TA unfairly marked one of my papers and asked her to take a look at it. She replied saying she’d do it on the weekend and get back to me on Monday. I spent a while debating if I should reply to that. I mean, did she really want to refresh her inbox and see an email from me, feel obligated to open it because I’m a student, only to have it read: Great, thanks. What a waste of an email. If it was an instant message, that’d be fine. In fact, I’d probably say Great, thanks 🙂 and that’d be totally okay.
As much as I don’t like it in so many aspects of life, I do understand that formality can be important. We do want to make a good impression. Being polite is always good and I think I usually am a fairly polite person. I know not to start my job application emails with Yo dawg, but is what is so wrong with Hey? Hey is me. I start 50% of my conversations with hey and 80% of my sentences with so. That’ll be revealed pretty fast once someone starts talking to me in person. I wonder if employers are surprised by this. Do they hire somebody who they know use good email etiquette and formalities and are just mindblown when that person ends up being a young adult who uses the word ‘dope’ in place of ‘nice’ verbally?
Anyway. Email isn’t the worst. I’m just picky. And as a communications student, I think it’s very ambitious that I think critically about society’s communication methods and then am able to express my thoughts in this well-written and formal blog post.
And I’m not saying we should all delete our email accounts, because that’s silly. I just think we as a society should all loosen up and chill out and accept that when it comes to writing anything, especially emails, a more casual and relaxed tone would make everyone a lot happier. If you run a business, perhaps look into online management systems like Slack which encourage streamlined instant messaging.
Do you hate (or strongly dislike) email too? Do you struggle with formality etiquette constantly too? Leave a comment. Or email me your thoughts, if you’re up for that. I’ll reply, but I’ll rewrite my reply six times before I send it out of fear of disappointing and/or offending you by my use of “Lol”.
That’s all for now!
P.S. I realize that this is ironic for my six email followers and anyone else who has email notifications turned on for my posts. Thank you for following me.