When e-mails first hit, we opened our computers hoping for an inbox full of good stuff. As time passed, our precious inbox also turned into a place for solicitors, unwanted spam, and even unsolicited semi-pornographic images. Filter or no filter, e-mail will probably be part of our reality for awhile.
So why do so many people misunderstand and even misuse it? Most people should realize e-mail is a form of official business correspondence. As such, you could be liable for your writing behavior on company time and hardware. Most companies even specifically outline proper and improper use of e-mail. Do you care about how your e-mail reads once you hit send?
Would you ever send a letter by regular mail without proofing it? Not once, but perhaps multiple times? In many cases, you might even have others take a look at this official form of correspondence before you put it in an envelope and attach proper postage. What troubles me are e-mails with no attention to the kind of proofing necessary in the business world or even in social circles.
Of course, I don’t think I’m error-proof. In fact, one time I accidentally sent out a group e-mail to friends about a race I was running…only to realize I had misspelled my own first name because I was in such a hurry. I then sheepishly sent out another e-mail apologizing for the frenzy of not spelling my name correctly.
With business e-mails, I tend to double, triple, and quadruple-check my writings. If you’re not a good proofreader, ask someone else to do it. But by all means, take pride in this kind of communication. Because it takes only one misspelled word or misplaced semicolon for your intended target to think about hitting the delete button on you.