Business Email

Code of the Net

With the addition of email to the business communication arsenal some significantly new communication issues have emerged, in particular, the blurring of the line between the spoken and the written word. Consequently, a Code of the Net has begun to emerge.

Email has reduced the time lag between the sending of a conventional written message and its response, so much so, that the actual written communication it contains often takes on traits similar to that of a spoken conversation. There is a problem, however, in that participants in a spoken conversation have speech devices available to them that are unavailable in an online written exchange.

Voice inflections, tone, verbal pauses, and facial expressions, for instance, contribute to a more accurate contextual reading of a spoken conversation, helping participants rapidly perceive each other's meanings and implications. The inability to use or rely on these tools when writing or reading an email message, being problematic, has given rise to a set of techniques intended to sidestep this deficiency. However, these shortcuts often fail, or fall far short of the mark, in business email. Consequently, their use is generally considered rude, or poor business netiquette.

All business forms of communication then, including email, should be handled in a professional manner. Here is a short list of essential rules by which many Internet users abide. The beginnings of a Code of the Net, if you will.

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Introduction