Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap
Our blogs are platforms from which we share our experiences, opinions, and views with the online world. For Mind the Gap challenges, we want to hear what you think about a divisive issue. Each challenge will include a poll where you can cast your vote along with your fellow Daily Post participants. After you vote, tell us more about how you feel by expanding on the topic in a blog post. Be sure to visit other participants’ posts to get some healthy discussion going.
To participate, tag your posts with DPchallenge and leave a link to your post in the comments. Please be sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge; link-baiters beware! We’ll keep an eye on the tag and highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday.
Close your eyes for a second and imagine your life without e-mail. Open your eyes again: if you saw nothing, it’s probably because you can’t imagine an inbox-less existence. It’s rare for a (relatively) new communication technology to transform our habits so radically, but email clearly has. From the speed with which we receive messages, to the frequent (dare we say obsessive?) checking of our accounts, to, finally, the tone with which we address each other, it’s easy to draw a line between our pre- and post-email days (of course, for anyone born in the 1990s and after, email is the only thing that ever was).
Is it time for an informality backclash?
“Hey!” “Hi, Ben!” “Ben!” Over the past few years, we’ve all received emails starting with these types of non-salutations (and others with no salutation to speak of). These come not only from our friends and family, but also from colleagues up and down the work hierarchy, from those far younger than us, as well as from complete strangers. Some people take this informal approach as a sign of civilization’s impending doom. Others say ‘good riddance!’ to the dusty, moldy conventions of the past.
There is something to be said for the egalitarian, time-efficient communication we get when we strip away layers of stilted formality from our writing. At the same time, we certainly lose some of the more fun — and sometimes necessary — elements of self-expression: the ability to convey respect, to add a personal flair to otherwise impersonal formulae, and to distinguish between different levels of speech. Email flattens our approach to written communication, for better and for worse.
Yo, Dear Sir!
Where do you stand on the grand salutation question? Do you instinctively write “Dear…” even to your siblings? Do you drop any attempt at deference even when writing to your boss, professor, government representative? Do you mix-and-match depending on your audience’s status, age, or culture? Answer the poll below, and then, in a separate post on your own blog, expand on your thoughts regarding etiquette in the age of email. Stories, anecdotes, poems, opinion pieces, essays short and long — all are welcome contributions. Don’t forget to tag your post with DPchallenge, so that we can all read your take on email (in)formality.