Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to (and Not to) Love about Email

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to (and Not to) Love about Email

Article excerpt

Email is a wonderful means of communication and the most common online activity. It can strengthen our ties with friends and family and make our work lives more productive, to name only two benefits.

But just because we have it does not mean we should use email for every communication. Indeed, it's the wrong medium for a great many messages.

A new book, SEND by journalists David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, has arrived-and not a moment too soon. It's a smart, authoritative guide to when we should email and when we should make a phone call, send a fax, mail a letter or show up in person (see On the Job, page 6).

The book is easy to read and humorous, but that doesn't mean it's unserious or unimportant. We have all read or heard about email that backfired, sometimes in dire ways. The authors discuss some of these cases with a focus on what went wrong and why.

They also explore the psychology of emailing. For example, does a remote medium like email encourage us to be incautious and say things we would never say to someone in person? …

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