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I was on the phone with a friend of mine the other day. She works at home and completely relies on e-mail and virtual communication. She let out this huge groan and states “I am hella annoyed right now. [She is from California, hence the usage of hella] Everyone always replies to my e-mails but NEVER actually answers any of my questions. Instead, they ask questions that I already answered in that e-mail. DOES ANYONE READ ANYMORE?”
I too rely on e-mail and have had close encounters of the non-e-mail reading kind. I have coined this practice “the skimming phenomenon.” [yes, I Googled the term and the search brought up a lot of science stuff and the word” anastomoses”, so I call dibs;, I get to claim it now].
As this trend relates to publicity and social media, e-mail is something we depend on daily. In fact, the majority of our communication is done through e-mail. Whether you are corresponding with journalists, bloggers, clients and colleagues, everyone is e-mailing. It’s fast and it’s effective – or is it?
Instead of reading, we are skimming. I know we all rely on our beloved e-mails, but sometimes it’s just easier to pick up the phone.
Why? Well, typically I send out an e-mail and wait for a reply. When I finally get a response, sometimes I get more questions instead of the answers I was waiting for, or I don’t get a response at all and am left to wonder if my e-mail is hanging out in some SPAM folder. So I wait and I wait.
Oh! I have an e-mail. I click on the message and…hey wait, where are the answers? Instead its more questions that I thought were previously answered in another e-mail.
So I reply and ask the same questions, or include all the information again, then I get more non-answers back – and so the cycle goes.
After I’ve read and responded to my 100th e-mail of the day, my eyes start to cross and I end up scanning for the important points, rather than actually reading everything word for word. So I reply to a few e-mails completely falling into the skimming trap.
I decided to informally poll some folks, and so it seems like the majority agreed that they too are having similar issues.
I know a lot has been said that the preferred communiqué method is the trusty e-mail, but it sure feels like a lot gets lost in communication.
Are you getting tired of e-mail? Does your inbox ever make you feel nauseous? Do you have any tips for getting out of the depths of your inbox?