How often have we heard ‘Manners cost nothing’?
Well, it turns out the manners inherent in email sign-offs may actually be costing us time (ergo money one presumes) in the agonising brain effort it takes to decide what term is appropriate with which to sign off our emails. So says New York writer Matthew J X Malady.
And apparently, this…malady…(sorry, had to be done) is a huge industry time waster while we sit deciding whether to sign off our emails with ‘Best wishes’, ‘Kind regards’, or the less oft used ‘Piss off and let me get on with my job.’ (That latter was my jest, but think of the time we could save if we set down what we were really thinking, eh? Although that could run to pages.)
No, Malady reckons that these email sign-offs are from a bygone era – you know the era of hand kissing, letter writing, and not speaking on a mobile phone while someone serves you in a shop or restaurant. (Don’t even get the blogger Crystal Jigsaw started on that.) And we all know what happened to the humble letter. It died a death.
Are we now to see the demise of email etiquette? Even leaving out the fact that email will probably go the same way as ye olde letter soon, while it is here could we not show it some last vestige of grace and favour?
Of all the shit I see in email, is the kindly ‘Kind regards’ really the thing we should be getting rid of? And even if we’re uncertain what level of warmth to impart in those warm or ‘Warmest regards’, will a colleague or client really make us the talk of their dinner party because we used ‘Best wishes’ instead?
And what is it exactly we will be doing with the time we have saved in not wishing someone a pleasant day or best wishes? Texting an unpoetic ‘c u l8r’ to someone else no doubt.
But why stop there? Think of the time we could save by omitting even the initial opening greeting in email or any other nasty email politenesses gorging on our precious time.
Are we at a grunt yet?
No, email etiquette is not the problem.
The problem is politeness and manners being eroded at every turn ostensibly for the better. In an age where ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ seems to have been given early retirement and no gold watch, can we not let email etiquette have its polite day before it too is unceremoniously pensioned off?
In any case Matthew, thanks also for a topical read at the very least.
Signing off now with my very (very)
HMS HerMelness Speaks