With the advent of computers, mankind has been able to do some incredible things. We can compute extensive equations lightning fast, send information over the Internet, and store vast amounts of information on a small disc just to name a few. The Internet has become as commonplace as the household kitchen, and it has only been available to the average person since the mid 1990’s.
It amazes me though how fast people pick up bad habits. We used to take time to write a letter to someone. Now we zip off an email, text a message, or just tweet. The problem is many have forgotten how to write properly. As a child, I was taught how to format a letter and use proper punctuation. I had to take a typing class (that I absolutely hated) to improve my abilities. Now, I receive emails that would make my grade school English teacher have a heart attack.
So, I thought I would suggest the bare minimum for composing an email:
- Compose for the purpose. If the email is professional in nature, use a professional format. If you are emailing a friend, you can be more relaxed.
- Use titles. These are the Mr. /Mrs. /Ms., etc. These are usually for the professional email, but can even be appropriate for the parent of your child’s friend.
- Use capital letters where appropriate. No email should be all in lowercase. Please learn how to use the shift key.
- Use proper punctuation. Do not have sentences without periods. I know it can be confusing for some as to whether or not to use a comma or a semi-colon, but at least end a sentence with some form of punctuation.
- Use a salutation. This is more important for a professional, but it doesn’t hurt to throw in a “Thanks” when requesting something from a friend.
- Use the subject line appropriately. Start by filling it in. Many email programs send messages without a subject straight to the junk folder. When you do use it, it should be short and to the point. This is not the place to write a quick message and then leave the message area blank.
- Before you hit send, read what you wrote and make sure it’s right.
These are just some writing tips for when you email. Not every tip is required for every message, but it can make a big difference when they are used. I also recommend writing a letter to someone by hand occasionally. It is good practice to get pen to paper, and to work on penmanship.
In this age of technology, we should never forget where we started. One day, all of these devices may be lost, and we will be lost without them.