Saturday, December 10, 2011

Email in its place

Given how email is far and away the predominant method of communication I use at work it may seem odd how little I send emails from my personal accounts when I'm at home. A decade ago I would sent out personal emails with some regularity but now if I have something to say to folks in general I would just post it here on the blahg, or (intermittently) write it on my Facebook wall. (Also, for my personal email accounts, were I to try to send a message to a large number of recipients it would get rejected as spam, so there's little point in attempting that.)

My personal email addresses become more something to use to associate with the logins for various websites, and thus that means many of the email I receive in those accounts prove to be those sites promoting something. At work my inbox is mostly filled with items I need to do or be aware of; at home my inbox is mostly filled with items I'll delete without bothering to read them all the way through.

And when I do compose a personal email to someone I do find myself wanting to keep it as succinct as possible, despite the fact I'll sometimes take a long time to write up a work email. I suppose in the latter case there's the greater likelihood I'm trying to impart specific details to which the recipients should pay attention, while with the former it's probably merely to get one piece of information across. Subconsciously I must grasp that I'm disinclined to want to spend a long time reading an email when I get home (or to read something long on my smart phone) when it's not pertaining to something I'm actually getting paid to do, and so it would be hypocritical to blather on in an email to someone else.

However, just to be clear about the length of when I do go on longer: If someone comes here (or is on Facebook), that suggests that person is inclined to pause and read something. One goes to those sort of outlets when one has the time for them, but email comes to you when it does, and while one is not required to read it right away there is always the possibility a genuinely urgent, non-spam message might warrant that, so at least glancing at it when it arrives (also a pattern from work emails) seems worth doing.

It's not as immediate as a phone call, but I guess I consider a direct email to carry an implicit quasi-urgency over something posted on a website, and thus I don't want to tax others' time more than necessary.

But years ago I had no such qualms. I'm not sure whether it's the emergence of social media sites or the spam-domination or merely some novelty wearing off, or perhaps being weary of email after dealing with it all day at the office (or, due to the smart phone, even when not in the office)—or, likely, all of the above—but checking the emails I get in my personal account seems more of a chore than a marvelous avenue of communicating with others.

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

1 comment:

  1. My email is a giant flytrap for spam. But it's the only avenue I have of electronic communication besides my blog. Facebook and Twitter are verboten.


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