I have been wondering about digital etiquette and how it relates to modern communication. I recently read an interesting article on this topic. It asked; how it can be OK in today’s society to sometimes completely ignore electronic forms of communication? Complete silence inevitably leaves the sender wondering if the recipient even got it or read it. How awkward would it be if you were standing in front of someone or on the phone with them, you ask them a reasonable question and the other person is completely silent? Yet it seems perfectly acceptable to ignore an e-mail that contains a reasonable question from someone you know. I consider myself somewhat old-fashioned in that my first preference is to have a business conversation face to face, my next preference is to talk on the phone. I can completely understand if you have no relationship with the sender of the e-mail and it is completely unsolicited, ignoring that seems perfectly acceptable. But what if it’s a referral or you have some sort of relationship with that person, shouldn’t we at least spend the ten seconds to reply with something? Even if it’s just saying “I don’t have time to respond to this.” If you are a fast typist you could write that in way less than ten seconds. Who doesn’t have ten seconds to be civil? I personally try to respond to every voice mail and e-mail I receive, even if it’s unsolicited. I figure the sender appreciates it and you never know who they know or how they may fit into your life sometime in the future. That being said, I fully embrace the digital age and the efficiency it helps us gain by being able to communicate with someone virtually at just about anytime and anyplace. I can only hope that some sort of decorum develops around responding.
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