Random header image... Refresh for more!

Do You Like to Email?

I love email.  I prefer it over all other forms of communication.  I like that the other person receives my messages instantly.  I like that I can open the emails I receive and read them at my leisure.  I like that I have a copy of what I wrote in my sent folder.  I like that I can use the search function and find old emails.

I am better at expressing myself through written communication than verbal communication.  I can hold messy, difficult conversations as long as the other person allows me to jot down my thoughts first in an email.

I can toss off an email to Josh in the afternoon and it becomes his shopping list on his way home.  Email helps me schedule plans, keep in touch, and do my job from home.

I love email.

Which means that I’m over 41.

By a weird coincidence, I am over 41.  By six months.

Gizmodo recently reported on their study that found a communication gap between generations.  People over 41 tend to love to communicate via email, and people under 41 prefer to meet people face-to-face or use a bunch of different apps:

First-generation internet users (people between 41-70) say they communicate with email more often than they communicate face-to-face with co-workers. 91% of them reported talking to colleagues with email, while 86% said they talk in person.

That’s me: first-generation internet user.

Most of my friends (I think?  Unless they’re humouring me?) prefer to communicate via email vs. try to connect over text messages or Twitter or Facebook.  But it does make me wonder what happens when one person is an emailer and the other person is a Twitter-er.  Does one person have to forgo their communication comfort zone to speak to the other person?  And which person budges themselves over to their less favourite format for communication?

As a side note, I love that Sarah Silverman still emails her mother though she died this past summer.  You can’t do that with a phone call.  And Facebook feels a little too public for that type of intimate conversation.  But I love that you can still email someone after they’re gone; pretend they are reading it and feel close for a moment.

How do you feel about email?  Or do you have a different favourite form of communication?

21 comments

1 Middle Girl { 12.22.15 at 7:54 am }

Though I prefer handwritten letters over email (or other forms of communication) I DO prefer email over communication through FB, Twitter, Snapchat, text or instant message. I prefer written over face-to-face.

I wish my mother had been an emailer. She was a letter writer and card sender, so there is that.

2 Catwoman73 { 12.22.15 at 8:08 am }

It depends on the conversation. For anything brief, I prefer to text. But I love e-mail when I need to convey a lot of information, or for emotional conversations. I’m definitely not a face-to-face kind of girl. As an extreme introvert, I can only handle so much social interaction before I need to retreat to my corner to recharge.

3 gwinne { 12.22.15 at 9:01 am }

Timely. I’m in a major technology funk at the moment, which I blogged about recently.

Email has its value. Being able to get my colleagues’ opinions about something without scheduling a whole meeting, say. Communicating basic information. I also like it for keeping in touch with friends (I’m not on Facebook). I’m 43 and came into email my first year in grad school (1994) and LOVED it as someone who wrote long letters throughout college and mailed them.

But mostly I feel like all these modes (email/facebook/twitter/text) encourage level of connection I don’t want in my life. When I want to be with someone I want to *be* with someone. Coffee yesterday, with a friend, was much better than a series of emails. And as a university professor I get way way way too much email. So I sort of hate it.

Mixed feelings!

4 Cristy { 12.22.15 at 9:05 am }

I prefer email for so many reasons. Though I love snail-mail, the act of writing physically hurts (I have a strange way of holding a pen). Texting is great for quick questions and checking in, but getting out lots of information or speaking one’s mind without interruption is definitely hard.

5 Charlotte { 12.22.15 at 9:08 am }

The older I get the less I want to have actual conversations with people. My main way I like to communicate is via text message. If it’s a long story I usually will relay it in person or on the phone. I love email for business stuff or when there is a lot of details I don’t want to get mixed up. I email myself a lot, too with passwords I won’t remember, or grocery lists, or other random things I will need at a later date. It is funny because I have one friend who is terrible with communication in all forms, so I will usually start with a text, then move to email if I haven’t heard from her in so many days. I have another friend from work who is a generation younger who prefers to talk. So I will text and eventually my phone rings which I hate because I dislike phone calls on my cell phone but I will usually concede because it’s the only way I will get to have the conversation. If I have to talk on the phone, I much prefer my landline.

6 Nicoleandmaggie { 12.22.15 at 10:44 am }

I prefer chat programs.

7 Rachel { 12.22.15 at 11:10 am }

Hm. I’m 29 and I prefer email over everything else to. I will avoid phone calls and face to face if I can – and text is so abbreviated.

I’ll take emails everyday so I guess – even though I’m not a first generation internet user – I am like one in a lot of ways!

8 Rachel { 12.22.15 at 11:10 am }

*too

9 ana { 12.22.15 at 11:50 am }

Like catwoman above, I like text for quick things that you may want an instant reply to. But real complex thoughts and emotions work better with email. I like emailing friends and family to catch up—I’m
Not a phone person these days. Hard to coordinate timing and I just prefer quiet when I do have down time!
. I love email
For most non urgent and non-complex work things. I remember dealing with tons of voicemails and paper messages—it’s hard to keep track of, with email you can look up the details of the conversation anytime.
And I’m 39.

10 a { 12.22.15 at 12:46 pm }

My sister and I were just texting about how we send photos to convey lots of information – like, she was looking for a recipe that my mom used to make (had to create our own, since mom never wrote it down), so I took a picture of my version and sent it to her. Our other sister emailed her version. We are all WELL over 40, so it’s an interesting test group. I don’t really have a preference for anything, I guess. I’m more free with my email address than with my phone number, because I’d rather not talk. But if that’s the most efficient way to communicate, then that’s the way I will choose. I like Facebook because my nieces and nephews are occasionally posting and checking in there, so I can harass them from afar. I don’t get Snapchat, though. And Twitter is just too much, so I don’t do that at all.

My problem is that I tend to save ALL the emails. About everything. Yes, indeed I should go and delete that message that my items are ready for pickup at the library from 6 months ago…and the 150 others just like it. But I rarely get back to it. My email is like a big box of correspondence where all the stuff is just thrown in. Sigh…

11 Sharon { 12.22.15 at 4:28 pm }

Honestly, although I use email a lot at work, I don’t actually email friends and family very much. Occasionally my sister, who lives on the opposite side of the country, or my husband to send him an item for sale or article that I want to discuss more fully in person, and that’s about it.

My preference is always to talk with people face-to-face, but that’s not always feasible. To me, the next best thing would be a telephone call. I also text a few close friends, and I even send actual handwritten notes to friends and family at least a few times a year.

I don’t do Twitter, and to me Facebook is mostly for sharing photos and general updates or musings on life (although I do occasionally use its private messaging feature).

12 Sharon { 12.22.15 at 4:29 pm }

P.S. I’m 44

13 Turia { 12.22.15 at 6:32 pm }

I am 36 and much prefer email to anything else. I think that is because I don’t have a smartphone, and I’m not on Twitter. I will text with family to get quick answers to something easy but otherwise I prefer email.

14 Kathleen Howell { 12.22.15 at 7:19 pm }

I love when I email someone at work and then they call me. (Nooooo, please just hit Reply for the love of God!) LOL Yes, definitely prefer email/text/FB over verbal. Face to face is nice too, of course, for longer catch up sessions..

15 Isabelle { 12.22.15 at 7:20 pm }

I prefer facebook messenger or google chat. Anything that allows me to have a conversation with somebody without having to write emails back and forth.

16 Chris { 12.22.15 at 8:53 pm }

I love email, and IM. I telecommute and so I use both of those extensively for work. But in both work and my personal life I’m likely to avoid the phone. If it can be done by email/text/facebook/twitter I’m much more likely to use any of the above. I’m an early adopter of the internet (I’ve found two houses, my husband of 15 years a car and my pup on the internet. We met on Match when NO ONE did- when we got funny looks from our friends!) I will avoid the phone like the plague and always have. Face to Face depends on who it is quite honestly.

17 Mali { 12.22.15 at 10:45 pm }

I love email and FB messenger. Whatsapp seems a bit too demanding. It’s hard to say something and not get drawn into a long conversation! I don’t like phone calls much. Never have.

I mourn the demise of the hand-written letter, and still occasionally send cards and notes, and even postcards if I’m travelling. But then, I’m old!

18 Heather { 12.23.15 at 1:03 am }

I also love email. I’m not really a phone person. Hey we are the same age!

19 Amel { 12.23.15 at 4:56 am }

How timely! I recently published a post where I stated that written text is my most fave form of communication and by that I don’t mean FB. I’ 37, first had an internet connection back in 1997 or 1998. I dislike phone calls except when I only need to contact those I know well. I dislike making phone calls otherwise in any language (my native tongue, English, or Finnish). If I can book appointments online through a single click, I’d much prefer that compared to having to call to book them. If I need to ask questions, I’d rather do it in emails instead of via phone. I hate making official phone calls and having to ask questions.

Unfortunately many of my friends have moved on from emailing and they like using other means of communication instead. WhatsApp, FB. I tried WhatsApp group chat with them, couldn’t cope. I told them sorry, but it didn’t work for me. I do a 1-on-1 chats on WhatsApp with several people, mainly my mom (handy because my mom can’t use the computer). Otherwise I try to keep in touch with my friends in FB every now and then, but I have a complex like-and-hate relationship with FB. FB is good for some stuff, but it’s not giving me the depth of convo that I love so much. Sometimes I feel like my friends keep on inviting me to go to bars, but I want to hang out in a cafe instead, you know? It’s difficult when the majority of your friends don’t hang out in a cafe anymore…

20 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.23.15 at 3:53 pm }

I <3 email for all the reasons you say. I have a lot of people in my life who prefer texting, which I fumble with. And I am constantly moving conversations from FB private messaging to email.

21 JustHeather { 12.25.15 at 3:47 pm }

I do like to email, yet, I also try to get up and talk to my co-workers at times too. Sometimes it is easier to ask in person and takes less time…Even with the walking there and back. When I email, I do prefer to be on a computer, as opposed to a phone, because it is so much easier to type things up on a proper keyboard. For quick and short messages, I like sms, whatsapp, etc. As for FB, if it is general stuff, I’ll do it there, but I would prefer private stuff in email instead.
I never thought about emailing my mom…I’m not sure if I could do that though. It sends sadness and chills though me just thinking about it.

Leave a Comment

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author