While Twitter offers thoughts in 140-characters or less, I have been noticing a lot of emails coming through my e-mail that look more like Twitter messages then e-mails. The e-mails I am directly referring to do not include the quick e-mails to someone you are friends with, but professional e-mails that call for e-mail etiquette. It raises the question, is there a disconnect between individuals and the proper way to address an e-mail?
Every time I write an e-mail, I am always addressing the individual prior to my message and signing it with my name - I even do it with e-mails to my friends because I have been trained to do it. Recently, I have noticed a lot of student and professional e-mails that jump right into their message and don't bother to sign the e-mail; leaving it for me to decode who it is by the e-mail address. Are we not teaching the students proper e-mail etiquette anymore? Are professionals just starting to be more informal? Or is it just the new norm to be so concise, that you can skip the formalities of a greeting and closing?
Now, this is not true for every e-mail that comes into my inbox, but I am noticing a trend in it being about a 50/50 split these days. I think part of the reason for the shorter e-mails is the culture of responding through our mobile devices. Being on the run, we try to be concise and to the point on our devices - but leave our closing signature as "Sent from iPhone Blackberry." I am starting to think I am talking more to the device then the human on the other end of the device. Here is a recent e-mail I received and the one I returned to someone:
Hi. I need help with (inquiry here). Can you help me?
Sent from iPhone Blackberry
- - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear iPhone Blackberry,
Could you please provide me your name, so I can respond to your inquiry?
As you can tell, I kept the inquiry private, but that was the message. This was the first time I had ever heard from this person and have never heard back since I sent the response.
In today's competitive job market, I would think every communication you make with a potential employer or professional should be a professional one until you are on the level of being less formal. If you are looking for tips, here is 101 Email Etiquette Tips.
With changing times, is it ok to not address the individual and just start right into the message?