Re: e-mail

Subject: Re: e-mail
From: "Doug, Data Librarian at Ext 4225" <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 1994 12:09:59 -0600

Chris Miller asks:

* Do people use a less formal writing style using e-mail?

In comparison to my interoffice memos, usually yes, unless the message is
going to a large list of people or there's some other reason to be more

Is a less formal style indicative of a less formal function?

Somewhat, I suppose. I think the big contributor is the speed of
composition, and the fact that our mail system makes it somewhat more
difficult to edit off-line and send a message after revising it.

There's some sort of law that says you won't detect your most horrible
error until after pressing the <send> key.

What are those little faces called? :-)

Smileys. There are little guides to the different kinds spattered all
over the 'Net. There was a thread on them on this list not too long ago.

* Is a less formal style encroaching on the more traditional
methods of communication such as letters, memos and

I don't think so, but we've had e-mail forever so I don't have a good
baseline for comparison.

For instance have spelling and grammar suffered?

Not that I've noticed.

* Is e-mail replacing memos? Telephone calls? Or has e-mail
formed its own niche in business communication?

Paper memos are definitely becoming extinct. It's fairly rare to see and
for-real memo around here. Usually, something that's called a
memo is really an interim policy proposal or some sort of developing
reference document.

It's probably also replacing phone calls; at least I use it that way.
It's a great form of communication because it combines the speed of a
phone call with the stability of a letter or memo.

Letters have sort of moved upstream and are usually reserved for more
formal communications from corporate-level folks. Typically, letters deal
with things like benefit changes, formal party invitations, and changes in
company policy.


Doug "Women are designed for long,
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com miserable lives, whereas men are
designed for short, violent ones."
- Estelle Ramey

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