Email Etiquette

Over the course of one week, we write countless emails. Many are to friends and family members, many more to professors, employers, or administrators. Our voice inevitably changes depending on our audience. Yet, in both formal and informal emails, what etiquette do we consciously or unconsciously adopt? How many 🙂 or “…” are enough? When is “I hope this email finds you well” an appropriate opener and “I look forward to meeting you” a solid conclusion? 

In conversations where two people cannot see each other or do not occupy the same physical space, how do conversation dynamics and forms of emotional expression change? How, I wonder, do we convey intention without facial expressions, hand gestures, or intonation of voice?

These questions had me thinking about Writing Fellows conferences. Face-to-face, fellow to fellowee, students can discuss their ideas and writing. But in a society where virtual rather than live dialogue is evermore common, what does the live bring which the virtual simply cannot?

If you’ve had any thoughts about email etiquette or the subtleties of virtual rather than live dialogue, please join this (ironically) online conversation.


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