Didn’t You See My Email?
I don’t like blogs that are rants. I try very hard to add some value with good content, some of which I borrow, with attribution, from others. Obviously I have points of view about life, but I leave whining primarily to others. While this post is hardly a rant, this Wednesday’s Struming comes from the “things that need to change” category so I apologize if this seems a bit whiny.
We live in a digital world (duh—this is a blog, of course I get that). Digital communications have changed how we live, get information, communicate, purchase goods and services. All really good stuff. I embrace everything about the digital world. I am not someone who romanticizes the past. But there are some drawbacks about digital communications that need fixing too.
I am old enough to remember when email was a novel idea, first in the workplace and then on a personal basis through the miracle of “dial up” AOL in the 90s. The world has changed. Initially, email was great. Email is a panacea no longer–see earlier Struming the Email Avalanche. What hasn’t changed and what I don’t like is the use of email to express emotions rather than convey basic information and the expectation by the sender that they have fully communicated and have “passed the ball” to the recipient by merely pressing send.
In most cases emails and messaging of all kinds have replaced phone communication. Emails, texts, messaging etc. are all fine for communicating stuff like “Meet you at the corner of 42nd and 3rd” or “No, I can’t make it Saturday”. But I too often see the use of email as a surrogate for relationship building or as a means of hiding from people and not dealing with issues. Too often people are scared or reluctant to talk to someone, they use email, and then ask defiantly:
“Didn’t you see my email?”
The honest answer is, “Maybe I did, but I don’t honestly remember as it was one of 500 emails I got today”. The open rates of emails are plummeting. Constant Contact, admittedly the far end of “marketing emails” quotes open rates of 11% as average. WHAT! That means 89% don’t open it?
Of course open rate of emails from family & friends is higher—maybe 50-75%, but certainly not 100%. But yet we pound out email and text messages in virtually all instances while a phone call–a human voice and discussion–would be the better way to communicate.
Instead of “reach out and touch someone” it’s “reach out and text someone”.
Human discussion builds relationships, trust and allows for instantaneous discussion that changes the direction of conversation. How often have you seen a heated email exchange when a person to person voice dialogue (or forbid, a meeting) would have resolved the issue. Far too often.
So my sage Struming advice of the day is to pick up that smartphone of yours and call someone rather than email or text. But use the Bluetooth and keep your hands on the wheel when you do.