Chris FlickWho do you love...

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The trouble with e-mail emotions...

Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 5:11:57 PM by Chris Flick

Do you ever get into a situation where you write an e-mail that you think is honest, to the point and basically about the facts but then someone else reads that e-mail and thinks "Oh my gosh! I can't believe you went off like that!!!" and so, for the rest of the day, you spend your time reading and re-reading the e-mail thinking "what did I say that was so harsh or so bad?".

Those of us that work in the "corporate field" or are part of a committee of some sort might relate to what I am talking about. I'm in such a situation right now.

You see, I work in one of those corporate environments and we tend to design web sites by committee (not the easiest thing in the world to do, let me tell you!). And part of my many responsibilities is to make sure all of our web sites follow a very specific set of guidelines. Unfortunately - and on occasion - a "rogue designer" will create something that, on the surface level, looks really nice but hasn't followed any of those very specific guidelines. Now, his immediate superiors might like what he has done as well, but in the overall scheme of things, the guidelines still weren't met or were completely ignored. So, I'll have to play "bad guy" and mention such a thing and reiterate to all involved exactly WHY something can't be done or published to the web.

I just sent such an e-mail and, for the life of me, I can't see where one of my co-workers sees the "anger" and "hostility" in my typed words. I've re-read this sucker three times now and I STILL don't see what they see. I don't see "anger" in my words. I see facts. I don't see "hostility". I see an insistence on maintaining rules. I don't even see "frustration" either. I see, instead, questions about how a particular decision came to be.

Isn't that the crazy thing about e-mails, though? How one person can "interpret" the feelings and inflections in a person's voice when there really isn't any there? Do we - when we read an e-mail from someone we know - automatically IMAGINE what and how they are speaking and this CAUSES us to come to our conclusions? What makes us "see" the emotions in an e-mail? And, in some cases, respond to them in kind?

In any case, I'm probably going to have to send another e-mail explaining what I'm NOT feeling or what I DIDN'T intend. Ahhhh well. Such is the life in the age of faceless communication.

Too bad it's not entirely devoid of emotion though. Real or not.


Chris Flick

Category tags: On the Personal Side, Web Business

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