Today I’m just going to write off-the-cuff about an e-mail I received.
Resistance is a word bandied around quite a bit lately. I actually received an e-mail letting me know that the person was part of “the e-mail etiquette resistance”. Who knew?
They went on to say that I should just succumb and shut this site down.
At first I giggled and thought it was a joke.
But they ended with “Prove you invented e-mail, @#&*!%!”
Wow — don’t know where that came from!
But that got me thinking…
How should I reply, if at all? Well, I have this blog — so here we go!
E-mail Etiquette is simply online etiquette or as I explain with my tag-line:
Using technology with knowledge, understanding and courtesy.
What is so wrong with that? Who would want to resist that concept?
Starting from the Start
First, let’s note how long e-mail as been in existence. Did you know that e-mail is 45 years old?
The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973 (RFC 561).
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. The ARPANET was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States Department of Defense.
An email message sent in the early 1970s looks very similar to a basic email sent today. Email had an important role in creating the Internet, and the conversion from ARPANET to the Internet in the early 1980s produced the core of the current services. Wikipedia
So I didn’t invent e-mail (never said I did). Rare is the person reading this that even owned a computer in 1973! Look how far we have come in such a relatively short period of time.
When I started this site waaaay back in the day, I literally thought it would be a limited time engagement. Who would have thought that decades later the topics I discuss on this site are still those that folks are interested in, need to improve upon and want to refer to as needed. I still receive e-mails daily from genuinely concerned onliners about their situations asking “What should I do?”. And I answer each and every one personally.
Two Decades of Everyday E-mail Later…
After a solid two decades of folks using technology and e-mail, apparently there are still those onliners who resist the concept of E-mail Etiquette. Why, I’m not sure. Is it education? Laziness? Is it that they do not care how they are perceived?
Who would have thought suggesting that communicating with proper sentence structure, case and courtesy would require “resistance”?
Maybe its that folks get scared off by the term Etiquette as though it is some stuffy fancy-schmancy practice. When in fact it is really just about communicating in a way that is effective and helps build relationships.
Let’s start over…
- conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.
- a prescribed or accepted code of usage in matters of ceremony, as at a court or in official or other formal observances.
- the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other: medical etiquette.
As you an see by the above, etiquette is about thinking before doing and behaving in a way that we would also like to be treated. By embracing the simple tips on this site you can contribute to being perceived favorably and in some cases avoid misunderstandings.
So why be rude?
I’m sure you too have received rude e-mails where you’ve had to think before responding. In some cases I know the person and know they aren’t rude individuals. Or, I can tell the Sender isn’t purposely trying to be rude. A little e-mail etiquette, forethought and that perception can go away.
Then there are the downright purposeful rude emails like the one I received this week. In part we live in a culture that is so busy thinking “all about me” that we don’t stop to think of courtesies or considerations for others. I hope that changes.
Whatever you call it, online etiquette, netiquette or E-mail Etiquette, it is simply understanding the technology in which you are participating. Then taking that knowledge to use technology properly with consideration and courtesy to others.
To those who are part of the E-mail Etiquette resistance who think E-mail Etiquette can be disregarded or ignored, you are doing yourself and those you communicate with a disservice.