What are some of the problems that you have experienced when writing or receiving poorly, perhaps hastily, written emails/texts? Describe at least five (5) types of issues.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Using emails and texts as effective communication methods allows for immediate responses and spontaneity and their worth is invaluable. They assist individuals and businesses in reaching the largest number of readers, personnel and customers in the shortest possible time and they drive business forward without the delays associated with face-to-face communication and standard mail. They alleviate difficulties with waiting periods and allow their users to get the best deals for their respective interests. Texts ensure that delays can be anticipated and frustration avoided as meetings and appointments can be rescheduled in real time if traffic delays or other causes would otherwise make someone late or cause them to miss an appointment. Unfortunately, however, texts and emails which are not managed correctly may create more problems than they solve.

In some cases, it becomes obvious that a writer has hastily put together an unsuitable answer, skirting real issues or as a delaying tactic, and then ignores the real problem. The recipient must then decide whether this requires action or patience and a stalemate can result from procrastination or sheer laziness. The recipient is often discouraged.

It is easy to make excuses and claim non-receipt of emails and texts, regardless of delivery notices and “proof." Deniability is common. Similarly, a sender acting in haste may claim to have sent a text or email when they actually have not. Technology can be blamed and therefore no real accountability exists.  In business, it also adds to the problem when certain matters raised in an email, for example, need to be actioned by different departments and a sender, rather than handling matters and ensuring follow up, thinks that it is sufficient to ignore most of the content, providing a poor and incomplete response, frustrating the recipient. 

Emails and texts may be sent to the wrong person or company creating embarrassing situations. In reality, relationships, both personal and professional, have been ruined irreparably when emails or texts have found their way to the wrong person. This also covers the privacy issue and the potential for a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.  

Language needs to be appropriate and using abbreviations, when sufficient consideration has not been given to the audience, causes untold issues, misunderstandings and incorrect actions to be taken.  The tone may be too informal and even dissuade potential customers from continuing their associations due to a lack of professionalism. In personal texts and emails, the language may be too colloquial for someone, perhaps an older reader, to understand.

There is also the issue of emails and texts containing too much information causing, especially with texts, the recipient to misread or completely overlook crucial facts in an ill-considered text, concentrating on the first piece of information only or forgetting to deal with everything, whereby the recipient must follow up again in order to resolve problems.

The brief nature of texts and, to a lesser extent, emails means that the sender may not be able to effectively communicate his intention appropriately. Rather than establish real contact, he sends a poor email or text simply in order to be able to say that a matter has been handled. The lack of any real contact in emails and texts, especially poorly written ones, means that, without facial expressions, body language and so on, the real message is not communicated.