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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Is it only me?

I am sure it is not just me.

What is happening with communications?

Communication is so easy thanks to electronic advances, so how come there is so much bad manners?

Am I the only person in the world who does not get a reply to e mails?

I have written elsewhere that it is no different than someone meeting me in the street - looking me in the eye and completely ignoring the fact that I just said ‘hello.’

Maybe I am pedantic - maybe I am a wee bit obsessive but all I am asking is what I consider to be simple good manners in - at the very least acknowledging that someone has taken the time to contact you.

I am not talking about replying to junk mail or subscription mail but when I receive a personal e mail then I take the view that it deserves at least an acknowledgement.

Maybe I am the only one who feels this way - Comments?

Comments:
Trevor! You are not the only person who feels this way. I feel this way, too. It troubles me, but I am not going to waste any time trying to analyze why it happens. It's simply rude.
 
Trevor - I'm with you (and Troy). I feel this way too. I think because we feel "busy" that we think it's okay to do nothing. Sad really. Instead of thinking about why this happens, let's try to focus on a solution to this dilemma. I'm stumped right now, but I'm going to think on it and let you know. Thanks for bringing this out in the open.
 
Trevor, I do feel that way too at times, then I myself get hopelessly backed up with the deluge and my sense of empathy kicks in ... I then think more kindly toward others because I start to understand.

Still, Troy is right about it being "simply rude" and I remind myself it is better to respond late than never (and apologize).

As the sender, I've recently started to let people know when there's no need for them to respond to one of my own messages (because it was an FYI type of thing, or because I'll end the conversation string in a way I don't expect any acknowledgement) and it seems that people appreciate it.
 
Yes, this is a topic we´ve been talking about so many times. The fact is that technology enables close conversations and fluency in relationships but it also allows setting barriers or distance in conversations. I think we all have a right to stay silent but a sense of acknowledgement should foster people to answer to any e-mail. At least if there is a previous permission from the other part. I think sometimes people get obsessed with advertising techniques and traffic issues and forget the most basic traits of any kind of relationship, recognition and respect.

If Seth Godin started a revolution with his permission marketing I think his effort should be completed with a Recognition Marketing. IT would be the other side of marketing with a human face.
 
I get disappointed when people don't respond to me, but I take it in stride. Why? Because every day my NON-spam email account gets about 150 messages, about 30 of which are legitimate. I try to keep it clean, but when my get gets to 3000 messages -- once a month or so -- I clear it out completely, and invariably find one or two personal missives that I hadn't seen. (I do, of course, respond immediately.) So when I don't get a response, I try to give the recipient the benefit of the doubt.
 
Yes, this is an issue Trevor, et al. It is also a shame that the technology has yet to actually provide some help in this area. For example, if as Rosa indicates she sends an FYI email, why not have a check box so that FYI appears in the subject line? I manually do some of this (when I remember for my internal company email. I commonly use FYI, Reading, Review&Comment in the headers. This at least provides my readers with some intended action on my part. Do they always follow through, more often than not, yes. Do others use this? Some, so we need to start this ground swell. If you agree with this kind of usage, then start using it. Start talking about it, and maybe someday a software company will incorporate it as an enhancement.

As for the real issue of not replying. If I fall behind, I would rather send a reply to say i have acknowledged your request and will get to it, than send nothing. Do I do it all the time, the truth of the matter is no, but I try.
 
If you expect/need a reply, it shouldn't be in an e-mail.

I know, I know, "Why the hell not, if e-mail is so cheap and ubiquitous?" I think that's the problem--it's so fast, easy and practically free that nobody values it enough to reply.

I hate to regress in my buzzwords, but e-mail works best as a "push" technology--if you need to get something TO someone, great. It's not a conversational tool, and the etiquette is not going to grow any further in that direction as long as chat, text, cellphone, VOIP and the like exist.
 
Great comments folks - rich information here thank you.

I think it would be good to think about the reasons why rudeness can be tolerated so easily in our culture. Maybe we need to look at the way we have all been brought up and how we have brought up our own kids - me included.

But like all of you I do not lose sleep over worrying about something I cannot change.

Neverthelsss I think there is something important in all this. I cannot help but think that there is a fundamental problem in a so called well developed society where people can simply ignore direct communication. To me it is just rude and ignorant. A simple acknowledgement costs nothing in 'money' terms and thanks to technologyu very little in 'time' terms.
 
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