Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 55

have been developing substitutes for live interaction since the invention of smoke signals.

The valid point in that statement is that electronic communication can't -- and shouldn't -- completely replace live human interaction. A case in point: The Wall Street Journal (Endnote #13) reports on a group of managers who agreed to start using email less. Why? They found that because they solved most of their easy problems via email, they only met when they had to deal with something really nasty, which led to very unpleasant meetings. They agreed to meet more regularly (although still less frequently than they did before the advent of email) so as to stay on better terms with each other.

Email can be a great tool for dealing with people you can't stand in person. I once had to work with an incredibly nervous man whose tension was contagious. Rather than having him call me up at all hours of the day, we agreed to communicate by email. I sent him a project update every day or so, and if I left any of his questions unanswered, he would ask them by return email. I would try to reply by the end of the next day. I also tried to send him my reports right before I went home in the evening, so that if he did decide to follow up with a phone call, I'd be gone. It worked pretty well.

We still had to meet in person once in a while, though. You can't have everything.

Email Never-Neverland: home of the lost messages

Somewhere in cyberspace, there's a limbo of lost email messages. Like the souls of unbaptized babies, these notes wait, unread, for the end of time.

The Post Office has always had its dead letter office. Mail delivery in cyberspace is no more foolproof. The advantage of electronic delivery is that lost information isn't irretrievable; you usually have a copy of anything you sent to someone else.


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