20 Reasons to Hate Email

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1. Demise of the true epistle or letter, after a good run of about 3500 years*

2. Emoticons

3. Receiving an email without my own name appearing anywhere in it

4. Getting no response to a thoughtfully written email, no acknowledgement, no nuthin

5. Recipient misreads my email’s content or its tone or its content and tone

6. To email where I am copied, someone hits “Reply All” to say “Thx!” (see #14)

7. Cryptic or ambiguous replies (“But it wasn’t even a yes-or-no question!”)

8. The white lie: “I came across this in my spam folder. Sorry I’m just now getting back to you.”

9. The snarky email

10. The passive-aggressive email

11. The letters “asap”

12. Sender capitalizes my name but not his/her own (oh how modest you are!)

13. Sender copies 80 people, virtually guaranteeing multiple occurrences of #6

14. Pointless misspellings and abbreviations that (btw) save no time (thx but no thx)

15. Sender forgets to attach document, sends email apologizing, sends email with document

16. I sign “Jim” and person replies with “James”

17. Signature includes quote or aphorism

18. Unsubscribe (but when did I subscribe?)

19. Sense that it’s all a waste of time

20. Supplants real communication


*A book from UNC Press by William Merrill Decker, Epistolary Practices: Letter Writing in America Before Telecommunications (1998) is described this way by the publisher: “In this book, William Merrill Decker examines the place of the personal letter in American popular and literary culture from the colonial to the postmodern period. After offering an overview of the genre, Decker explores epistolary practices that coincide with American experiences of space, settlement, separation, and reunion. He discusses letters written by such well-known and well-educated persons as John Winthrop, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail and John Adams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Samuel Clemens, Henry James, and Alice James, but also letters by persons who, except in their correspondence, were not writers at all: indentured servants, New England factory workers, slaves, soldiers, and Western pioneers. Individual chapters explore the letter writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and Henry Adams–three of America’s most ambitious, accomplished, and theoretically astute letter writers.”


What of us will people in the future study and appreciate? Okay, okay, I got it: I blog therefore I am.



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