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Email etiquette revisited

There is a debate about whether or not to thank people by email:

A new book on the way-valid topic of email etiquette has offered the following suggestion:

Do not send thank you emails.

They clog up folks' in=box. One's thanks for help rendered is assumed. No need to say so.

In fact, no thanking is the new polite thing to do.

My personal view is that just saying thanks as a way of acknowledging an email is pretty pointless. But expressing gratitude in the right context is a necessary part of courtesy. One person's comment, that highly educated professionals often have the manners of skunks, isn't invalid just because it is overstated.

This whole discussion reminded me of an article, Elements of E-Style, which I read in the New Yorker in April. It challenges some recieved wisdoms, for instance:

The authors, astonishingly, come out in favor of exclamation points ("Thanks!!!!" is way friendlier than "Thanks"), abbreviations ("Is LOL . . . really inherently more opaque than FYI?"), and emoticons (those smiley faces and the like may "bug many people but they make us smile").

I've noticed that my own emails are getting shorter and I'm seeing more and more one-sentence paragraphs. My theory is that people won't read long emails and skip long paragraphs after the first sentence. It's probably the same for blog posts.

One last question. Is it e-mail or email? I've seen both and I use the unhyphenated version, but I'd welcome discussion and feedback on this crucial point.

Well, thanks for reading this post. I really appreciate it!! :-)

Matthew Stibbe

Matthew is founder and CEO of Articulate Marketing.