I prefer emails over traditional letters (or txt msgs, or twitter or IM), and sometimes I feel in a minority for doing so. For example, my church leaders request people don't send emails, preferring letters or face-to-face meetings.


Happily, I'm not alone in favouring emails: is a short blog post from the CEO of an American Publishing company that made me nod and laugh.But I think we're both implying emails that follow the standard etiquette. I'm offline right now so I can't link to any well-written summaries of this. But my list would include:

  • being aware that things can be taken the wrong way, as there's no tone or body language -- so, use emoticons or other ways to make sure people know you're making a joke, teasing them or being ironic
  • writing when calm, not angry or upset
  • where there are many different points, use interleaving for your response, leaving a blank line before and after
  • for threads about only a few points, respect the top- or bottom-posting before you
  • writing in normal sentence case, not in ALL CAPITALS ;-)
  • using a subject line that does summarise the email -- and change it if you're starting a significantly new idea
  • using BCC to send something to me and to a large list of other people, to keep my address private

So, if you are writing to complain about something that upset you, then bashing out a revengeful note is definitely off-limits. It's a sad commentary on the state of the Christians in our churches if they get enough of these to comment publicly that emails are a bad idea.On a related note, I've just read about some email pages that can help email recipients quickly help emailers with poor etiquette:

  • Thanks, No turns down unwanted email
  • five sentences explains why his email messages are so short
  • BCC please asks that bulk senders use the BCC field to hide your address
AuthorJonathan Clark