Yesterday, I came across this interesting article on TechCrunch where the author discussed the idea of gmail-lite, where we would write pretty much like Twitter-style emails.
Frankly speaking, I can understand the rationale of people writing short emails. After all, a not-so-busy person like me receives about, on average, perhaps 50 emails from work and another 20 or 30 emails in my personal email inbox. Imagine if every single emails is written in 3 lines and therefore, I can save, say, 20 seconds on average to read each of the emails, that is at least 70×20 = 1400 seconds, which is approximately 23 minutes, saved in a day!
However, as we all know, nothing in this world comes for free. So what did we sacrifice for those 23 minutes that we saved?
The answer is what I would like to call the interpersonal “warmth”.
Just imagine if one day you walk into a store, instead of being greeted by the salesgirls with words like “how are you doing?” or “what can I do for you?”, you are being asked directly with this:
“What do you want?”
or something like this:
“You can buy all your stuff here, cashier is over there, we accept Mastercard and Visa!”
Those words indeed save our time, aren’t they? After all, you walk into a store presumably you want to find something to buy and obviously in big departmental stores, knowing where the cashiers are or what credit cards they accept could save you quite some time.
However, would you like to visit this store again?
Now imagine everyone is talking to you like this.
Your boss will send a one line email to you:”progress report on project ABC please.”
Your colleagues will send a one line email to you:”conference call at 11am.”
Your friend will send a one line email to you:”party on saturday, reply yes to confirm attendence.”
Your loved ones will send a one line email to you:”dinner at home at 7, call if can’t come.”
Do you still want to live in such a world?
Obviously sometimes one line email is appropriate, such as the time if I am asking my colleague if he/she wants to go have lunch, I will perhaps just send a one line email like: “lunch downstairs?”, obviously sending something like “Dear Jim, how are you doing? Is everything good with your family?…” and so on would just be outright silly.
However, I want to be able to have the ability to write long emails when I need to, instead of confining myself to 160 words for every single email I write.
After all, we are human with emotions, which distinguishes us from the animals. If we are just able to use the most basic forms of communication, what is the difference between us and the computers that I am typing this blog post on?