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Just a Guy Frustrated With E-Mail

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I wish e-mail could communicate all that I want it to -- because I'm not a fan of the phone.

Man banging head on laptop at table

Bruce Sallan: I completely love e-mail, as I dislike the phone -- cell or hard line. My former career in showbiz was spent on the phone, so now I love the freedom of answering and responding to e-mail whenever I want. However, e-mail is fraught with problems and, as I just read, is rapidly becoming anachronistic as more immediate forms of communication, such as IMs and Twitter, are taking over (among the younger generation, specifically).

The thing that I keep on forgetting and can't seem to learn is that e-mail is not the same as direct dialogue. Subtlety rarely comes across, and sarcasm usually is lost. Then, there are the bigger risks when dealing with the opposite gender of being misunderstood and accused of flirting or the like.

Now, when you add politics to the mix, you get hate e-mails in response, saying "Take me off your list." This is the thing I don't get. I never just forward e-mail, nor do I keep any "list." Instead, I have always written a personal note explaining why I think this particular article or link has value, not asking for money or any response, and I make each list specifically tailored to those I think might want to look at it. I emphasize "might," as there's this magic button on most computers that says "delete."

So, why do people sometimes get so angry? When friends or colleagues and I are on opposite sides of the political aisle, as during the last presidential campaign, I've stopped sending anything foolish that I know has "that" point-of-view. What's with the others? Is it really such an intrusion? A friend said there's a "push-pull" thing going on, that when you choose to look at something, it's different than when someone puts it "in your face," as with an e-mail. Okay, that makes sense. Sort of. But, what do I know? I'm just a guy.

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Meg October 24, 2009, 10:38 AM

Again I find myself saying people need to lighten up. I get a lot of stuff forwarded to me in email to watch a video or look at some pictures pulled off the net. You want to know what I do? I just delete them. No biggie. I would delete the email anyway if I read it or not. It’s not making me go out of my way, it’s just a click. I did receive some emails during the election from a friend who was on the opposing team (haha) and I kindly asked her not to send me those type of emails anymore (although she should have known better, but whatever). You are right though it is hard to convey emotion through and email and there’s always the risk of offending someone if they don’t understand your humor. Things are different now than there were just 10 years ago and email, texting, blogging, etc are the new forms of communication. I’m not crazy about it and I would rather communicate in person or by phone, but hey we gotta go with the flow or we will be left in the dust. People need to lighten up, it’s just a freaking email.

Denise October 24, 2009, 10:41 AM

Bruce, I’m with your wife. Where’s the romance in an e-mail? C’mon, you’re smart - get with it! And, stop farting already! OMG, you really are SUCH a guy!

Michelle October 24, 2009, 6:57 PM

Personally, I can’t stand forwards. I don’t even open the ones my mom sends. They clutter my inbox. For me, I can do most of my work via email and most of my personal plan making through facebook, text or IM. I still like the phone best though. It does lack the emotion of verbal communication, but sometimes for me, an emotional fast talker, thats a good thing!

Anonymous October 26, 2009, 1:13 PM

You actually gave one reason email is being replaced: too much unsolicited junk. People are being “electronically” pelted from many sources and email has succumbed to this trend as well. So far, there is no good replacement for email but there will likely be one soon…

Jeff October 26, 2009, 1:53 PM

Bruce, please take me off your list…lol.

Anita (England) October 27, 2009, 1:34 AM

Personally, I never have a problem with e-mail. I look forward to opening my inbox and reading my messages. Maybe we English look on e-mails with a different perspective – I don’t know. But one thing is for sure – DON’T give your e-mail address out willy-nilly if you don’t want to receive mail.

Kathi Browne November 4, 2009, 5:33 PM

Maybe your problem is with too many words. When you’re ready to embrace twitter, just let me know. I’ll help you out and I WILL add you to my list!

David November 5, 2009, 7:24 AM

I’m with Bruce on liking email. In contrast to the telephone, email offers flexibility with respect to how/when/why to respond. It is important to recognize that only certain types of messages/communications are suited to email, just as some types of messages/communications are better suited to phone or face-to-face transmission. As for the “take me off your list” syndrome, yes, it’s simple to just delete without bothering to open. I personally enjoy having my personal positions and opinions challenged or tested by a forward intelligently expressing a position I do not share. But if the forward does so mostly by merely sneering at persons who find merit in my own position, I am annoyed. My response is not to reply “take me off your list,” but rather to enumerate the weaknesses in the position taken in the forward, and stating my disdain for the slug who wrote it and apparently thinks that anyone who disagrees with him or her is naive/stupid/etc.”

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