Although you are probably more into texting and social networking than emailing, there are times when you'll need to use email. Your communication with adults-teachers, relatives, employers, college admissions officers, students, and others-will often require email.
One of the kids in your class keeps forwarding you emails that threaten things like: you won't receive a million dollars, you won't have good luck, you won't meet some handsome guy or gal-if you don't forward this to 20 other people.
Your English teacher gave your class his email address and explained that you could email him with questions you might have. The night before a big paper is due, your printer runs out of ink. You decide to email him. "hello mr. evans IDK how i can get my paper in bc my printer is out of ink TYVM Bill Thompson. He replies, "I will answer you if you write in correct English."
You were put in a group to do a project. One of the group members sends long emails, like two pages full. Most of it is about things she's doing and not about the project.
You have an aunt who loves photography, so she sends emails with huge files of her best work.
You get called to the principal's office about an email you supposedly sent. When you see it, you can't imagine why anyone would send something like this, but the sender looks like it's you. It's from your email address.
You send an email to your social studies teacher and keep waiting for him to reply. He finally sends you the answer-three days later when you don't need the information anymore.
One of your best friends thinks it's cute to write emails in lots of colors and to add those silly clip art animations. If you thank her for her note, she always sends a note back with nothing else but the word "thanks" flashing in neon pink.
One time you had this problem with one of your friends, and you emailed him about it. He emailed you back and this went on for about a zillion emails, which didn't solve the problem.
Your father is just learning to use his computer, and he is proud that he knows how to send attachments. He puts everything into Word files and sends them as attachments, even if they are a sentence long, like: "I wish my dear Molly a beautiful day."
So what can you do about emails like these-without hurting people's feelings...
Okay, you know people who have done some of these and perhaps you are guilty of some of them yourself.
We could summarize the problems with many emails as:
1. Time-consuming/waste of time
People don't usually think of others when they are sending emails, or in some cases, they may think their recipients appreciate what they are sending. When they write long emails or pack them full of files, animations, and graphics, they haven't thought how much time it takes to open, read or look at, and respond to their "notes". An exception to this rule would be for grandparents, great aunts, and people like that who love long emails and nice photographs from you-if they have an email account.
Teachers, for example, usually don't have the time to digest long emails from their students or students' parents. They'd rather talk to you or your parents in person, especially if the email asks a number of questions or is about a problem you are having with the course or the kids at school. Even if a teacher gives you his or her email address, respect the teacher's time by keeping your message short-just a few sentences. Why not request a conference in those sentences?
Talk about annoying! Maybe it's the way you communicate with your friends, but adults, especially English teachers, school administrators, your relatives, employers, and college reps will cringe at emails written in computer slang and without proper grammar, capitalization and punctuation. When writing to adults, keep your writing in standard English and don't add color or graphics. If you want an answer, you've got to make a good impression.
Keep in mind that many adults aren't online as much as you may be, so you can't expect an instant reply to your notes. Many have email accounts, but don't look at them often. Some only check them every few days. So-think ahead when you email adults and perhaps some of your friends.
The worse type of emails contain jokes and text that can be taken the wrong way by the recipient, and those that are meant to embarrass someone. Sometimes these emails may be sent using someone else's account to make it look like it didn't come from the actual jokesters or cyberbullies. To avoid being accused of something you didn't do, don't ever give anyone, even your best friends your passwords. And remember, it's best not to joke about someone or use sarcasm in email. People can't see your face when they open the email, and not knowing you are joking, may feel offended. As for cruel email meant to embarrass-think of what this really does to your reputation. Word gets around, you know.
There's an EMAIL CHARTER online which has some helpful suggestions about saving time when using email. We think you'll like what it recommends. That's because the CHARTER makes sense and will save you and everyone else from wasting time with email you don't want. Here are some ideas from the Charter.
- Emails should be short, to-the-point messages.
- Make sure what you put in the Subject Line reflects the topic.
- In the email, use easy-to-understand sentences. No fancy fonts, colors, and flashing animations.
- If you ask questions in an email, make sure the answers can be brief and easy to answer. For more detail, you should think about conferencing, chatting, or telephoning.
- Think about which people should get a copy of your email, and don't Reply All unless you know all will appreciate what you are forwarding.
- Going back and forth through email conversations usually isn't a good idea. More than 3 emails in a thread may be overdoing it.
- If the text in an attachment is only a few sentences, put the text in the email, not in an attachment. Avoid "graphics as logos" and signatures as attachments. For other attachments, think first before sending.
- If the message can fit in the subject line, type it there and follow it with EOM, which means end of message. Then the person won't have to take the time to open the email. If you don't need a response to your email, end it with NNTR, which means there's no need to respond. (Make sure the recipients of your email know what these acronyms stand for and why you are using them.)
- Don't feel you have to reply or thank people for their email. Reply only as necessary. Here's an example from the CHARTER. "Thanks for your note. I'm in" does not need you to reply "Great."