I felt as though you were right there talking with me. Usually emails depress me because they are so to the point and straightforward and dry. Not yours! It was refreshing!”
So said a male classmate of mine in university recently. He was talking about the group-project related emails I kept sending out to find out my members’ availabilities through Doodle. I did not think much of it at first, but now…
QUESTION: Does YOUR email writing convey who YOU really are?
I’m currently reading a very interesting book called Virtually You. (And more on that soon!) It explores how the internet affects us even when we are offline, and vice versa… how our real identities can be unconsciously mixed/ confused/ CHANGED by our e-personalities.
So lately, I’ve been comparing everything I read to my reality, to see if it holds to me. And surprisingly, many of it does.
In Virtually You, the author explains how for some people, email communication is extremely important for the user. To the extent that, should he (or she) receive an email from a beloved friend or boss that had no greeting, cheerfulness or warm emoticons– the receiver might believe that the sender is actually being rude and inconsiderate (as someone might be in real life if they did not display any emotion whatsoever). However, for many other individuals, email is simply a tool to get information across, and should not be taken personally.
For my future-teacher-colleague who expressed his enthusiasm at my emails, he was not used to receiving anymore more than “meeting tomorrow” or “looks good” brief comments. He was very taken aback, and pleasantly so, with my use of multicolored text, emoticons and bubbly tone (example: “HEY GROUP BUDDIES! We’re gonna do an AWESOME job on our project! Please fill out the Doodle below so we can see each other and brainstorm some fantastic ideas!”) But that is just the way I am; I try my best to express myself in writing the same as I do in speech. (Though, undeniably, I believe I sound cooler online than offline. Sad, but true. I’m trying to keep myself consistent inshallah.)
Once upon a time, I too would have been offended if a friend emailed me without a greeting and a sign off. I would have found it rude because I consider the little things that count… why doesn’t she? But after working with individuals whose emails are so dry, yet they are the most warmest understanding individuals in real life… I’ve learned to separate the online style of writing from the individual’s personality. And the opposite holds true as well: I have friends (well, more like acquaintances) who are so SWEET and syrupy lovey dovey in their messages, and yet can barely look you in the eye in person.
Moral of the story? Don’t judge a person by their email writing.
Though in a perfect world, emails would be as consciously and precisely thought through as an average letter in the mail written with an inked feather a couple hundred years ago.