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I read emails on Friday.


I'm sure most of you, like me, have wondered about the proper etiquette for communication technology.  While it is undeniable that smart phones have improved our lives in numerous ways, it is also true that there are many costs too. Mostly, we are expected to be on call for, and respond to any and every overture (email, text, or voicemail) and in a fairly short time. Like many, I fantasize of abandoning my device entirely and return to a more peaceful existence. 


We probably have all been on both sides of offending situations, for example when an overture is either completely ignored or is responded to after a seemingly long period.  For me deciding when to respond comes down to employing empathy. When I get an overture I must first gauge it's urgency, both to me and the originator. Then I determine it's importance both to me as well as the other individual. And finally I consider the reasonable expectations of the other. Of course, all of this has to fit in with my other calendar considerations. 

I have a very smart friend who has his emails automatically replied to with "I read emails on Friday," along with an offer to contact his assistant if something is truly urgent. I'm thinking that this isn't too bad of an idea. 

I wonder what it means when someone completely ignores an email, seemingly choosing to not reply at all. What, I wonder, is the intended message here?  Is it: "Leave me alone. I couldn't care less about you or your silly email?"  Or is it: "I'm very busy now and this isn't a priority for me?"  I think that even if it were something like this, or something even harsher, it is always better to send something other than a cold shoulder.  Maybe "I'm busy and this isn't interesting to me."  I've always appreciated honest feedback and bet that many others living in today's politically correct world crave it too. I also am perplexed when someone decides to end an email or text conversation abruptly and simply chooses to ignore the last salvo.  To me it is akin to hearing someone say something in person and rather than responding turning and walking away, or hanging up a phone on someone in mid-conversation. People who would never do this in those settings somehow feel it is ok to do it electronically and I cannot for the life of me understand it.

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