Thursday, February 02, 2006


As we move further into the 21st century, technology has made it easier and easier for us to communicate. Cell phones, palm pilots, treos, and, of course, e-mail are household names now, and I’d like to focus on one of these that may not necessarily aid us in our quest to understand one another ...


I recently had an e-mail correspondence with someone over a fairly simple subject—punctuation—and our tempers flared.


Are commas, semicolons, and capitalizations really that important? For writers (like me and the person I e-mailed), it is. But this subject usually isn’t something requiring blood pressure medication. The fault, I found, lay partially with me, partially with the other person, and definitely with the method of communication we were using: e-mail.

Much is lost in e-mail correspondences versus phone or in-person contact. Let me give you an example: "I liked the way your hair looked the other day." How many different ways can this be interpreted? Is the writer being honest? Sarcastic? Funny? Spiteful? It’s tough to say without knowing, in context, why exactly the e-mailer is writing about her hair, but you get the general idea.

So if an e-mail reddens your face and causes profanities to burst forth from your normally tepid mouth, pick up the phone and call the person ...or meet up with them for drinks. You and your blood pressure will be thankful. Trust me.

Coffee anyone?


At 9:18 PM, Blogger St. Jeanne des Pins said...

The Fanatic is, at present, using remarkable restraint in moderating--the term is particularly a propos here--another flurry of e-mails that have the potential to go awry. It's an art!:-D

At 8:53 AM, Blogger "The Fanatic" said...

You have no idea... Ugh!



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