Email is an imperfect communications medium. Because I’ve been working remotely with clients for 16 years, I’ve seen email at its best and worst. But when I see a certain four words, I know imperfect communication is about to become unpleasant communication.
Those words are: "Sent from my Blackberry."
Over time, it seems people have decided to sacrifice communication in the name of convenience.
Here’s a little hint for all you Blackberry users: sending email from your Blackberry may be convenient for you, but it isn’t for anyone else. In fact, trying to figure out what you’re trying to say is a waste of everyone’s time.
Here are a few things one can expect when dealing with Blackberry users:
1. The micro email that says nothing. Here are a few real example:
"Jan 12 yes"
"the # she gave me to call yoo"
"it is all there"
With the micro email, it takes at least two more emails on my part to figure out what the heck you were actually talking about.
2. Emails to the wrong person. Apparently, the Blackberry address book sorts by first name because I get a lot of emails for other people with the first name Susan. They are usually followed by the "oops, not you" micro email.
3. Quick replies with zero thought behind them. Fast response time is nice, but not at the expense of communication. Using your Blackberry to set up appointments or ask for a file you need makes sense. But some email conversations are about complex topics that require actual writing. Please wait until you get back to your computer to reply. I’d rather wait and get a complete and thoughtful reply than wade through 20 stream-of-consciousness missives that meander around the point. Treating email like text messaging or tweeting is rude and frustrating for the recipient.
4. Typo-laden emails from people who know how to spell. If you are involved in publishing, it’s particularly egregious to send emails that are full of typos and misused words. It’s unprofessional and makes you look illiterate.
5. Being around anyone using a Blackberry is the next best thing to being alone. Because emails take so long to write with your thumbs, you end up spending all your time emailing. This attachment to the device is unhealthy and unpleasant for those around you. Put the fool thing down and engage with the people in front of you. They deserve your attention first.
Of course, not all poor communication comes from Blackberry users. You can expect the same type of email struggles when you deal with almost anyone person emailing from a cell phone.
Blackberry users are just easier to identify because of the annoying signature block that acts as a virtual red flag. Typing with your thumbs may be fun for you, but deciphering your email haiku is not fun for me.
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