When I read Nick Bilton's piece Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette, from my smart phone, in between replying to texts, I felt sad. A little sad for Nick's friends who are now probably terrified to ever call him to catch up (gasp, such precious time wasted) but also a bit sad for someone who read it and thought, "this makes sense to me. I shouldn't clog someone's inbox with a thank you email. I will stop sending them." Not so fast. Really, slow down.
Send those thank you emails. Send them liberally and sincerely.
Bilton suggests a continuum that suggests the more interaction required, the more taxing (and rude) that interaction must be. Therefore, efficiency and minimal interaction surely must be the apex of good etiquette. But etiquette has never been about efficiency. That's why there are so many forks and fussy rules on how to use them. That is also why the art of penning a well-thought thank you note has never been more important. It's not time wasted. It's time invested.
And while efficiency is key, particularly in a business capacity (I too like doing business with smart people who are respectful of my time), I also appreciate doing business with nice people. Kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way in building and maintaining relationships, a distance that efficiency alone cannot.
Not every medium is conducive to the same degree of communications. Texting, email, phone calls, face-to-faces meetings and Twitter (as Bilton's mom can attest to, he explains this is how they keep in touch) all have a role but they are not fungible. You can't take out a phone conversation and plug in a Tweet as a replacement and not expect to loss some substance.
There are no "time wasting forms of communication," just poorly chosen forms for certain occasions.
Currently an email continues on and on, as the recipient/others reply to it, but I can't always see that there is a new addition, as it doesn't come up as a new email -- it remains in the original location by date. Do you understand my question? I can't think how to make it clearer. -- Deborah I hear you loud and clear, Deb. One of the biggest adjustments for people switching over to Gmail is the automatic chaining of emails in the inbox -- that is, replies to a certain email thread are nested under the original email, rather than presented as separate, independent emails. You'll probably get used to it after a while, but if you absolutely loathe the chained look, there's a solution: Recently, Gmail relented and pushed out an option that allows you to "unchain" those emails. Go into your Gmail Settings (click the gear icon in the top right and then "Mail Settings") and find the option called Conversation View. Switch Conversation View to the off position to unchain your emails for good. (Also, remember to scroll down and Save Changes, Deborah, otherwise your new view will not go into effect.)
Many of you wrote in to ask how you can sort by email sender or subject alphabetically -- that ain't gonna happen on Gmail, it just ain't. Gmail is an email service based on searching emails, not sorting them. The search bar at the top of your inbox is your primary means of locating those past emails, and Gmail doesn't allow you to alphabetize your columns from there. The best you can do to organize based on sender or subject is to learn your Gmail search operators. Search operators are, per Google, "words or symbols that perform special actions in Gmail search." They look like this: "from:[sender]," "to:[recipient]," "subject:[subject]," etc. So, if you want to find all of your emails from, say, Huffington Post Senior Tech Editor Bianca Bosker, you could type in the search bar "from:email@example.com" to bring up all of her past emails. Or if you want to find all the emails you've ever sent to Bianca Bosker, you could type "to:firstname.lastname@example.org" in the Gmail search bar. You can also combine search terms: to:email@example.com subject:"office hot tub" Click here for the official list of Gmail search operators. NOTE: Someone should write a catchy mnemonic song to help us remember these. Another option: If you download an email client like Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook and sync up your Gmail account, you will be able to alphabetize your inbox however you'd like. From Gmail.com, however, you are out of luck, as far as we know. Speaking of things that Gmail notably can't do...
Nope, you can't sort by email size in Gmail, either. Again, Outlook and Thunderbird are quick, free external programs that can sort your Gmail by size, but if you don't want to download anything, here are the two best web-based options for searching for large emails in Gmail that I know of: 1. Use the search operator "has:attachment" to locate larger emails. For "has:attachment", Gmail will bring up emails with files attached to them, starting with the most recent. If you want to bring up only older emails with attachments, consider something like "has:attachment before:2010/06/01." This will bring up emails with attachments sent before June 1, 2010, and then you can choose which ones you no longer need. (That Kris Kross album your friend ironically sent you is really just taking up precious Gmail space at this point). 2. Use FindBigMail.com. When you are logged into Gmail, simply visit FindBigMail.com and enter in your email address. After granting the site permission, FindBigMail scans your entire Gmail archive and locates your large emails for you. (You do the deleting afterwards.) The service is free and does not require or store any of your private information. For an FAQ, read here. Sorry I couldn't be of more help, Salim. Let me know if you find a better way.
Well, you can launch the iPad's Safari browser and navigate to Gmail.com, of course, but we prefer the Mail app -- as should you, Michael in San Diego. Here are your steps: 1. Click on the Settings app. 2. Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars on the left sidebar. 3. Under Accounts, touch "Add Account..." 4. Touch Gmail. 5. Enter your name, email address, password, and what you want to call your account (Home Gmail, Work Gmail, Party Gmail, etc.). 6. Choose whether you want to sync your mail, calendars, or notes from that account. 7. Boom, you're done. Check out your new email accounts in the Mail app from the homescreen.
Sure, we all love being told the size of our genitals could be improved, but sometimes the spam we receive becomes too burdensome and we need to mass delete. So writes Diane in Maryland, and we agree. In your spam folder, click the center of the "Select" box (it's the box within a box right above the banner ad at the top of your mailbox) to select all. Then click "Delete Forever" to -- well, to delete that Spam forever. (WARNING: Those deals on real estate seminars aren't coming back.)
I'd like to ask for clarification on a statement you made regarding "Call Phone." You said: "Again, it's not free for the recipient." But isn't it free for them if they are on a land-line? -- Gregg from San Diego My report of the death of landlines was greatly exaggerated, as Gregg pointed out. If you call a cell phone from Gmail, it is free for you but counts against the recipient's cell phone minutes; if you're calling an American or Canadian landline, it is indeed free for everyone (or, rather, there are no additional charges for anyone). Here's the full skinny on Gmail calling. My apologies to landlines for the premature death pronouncement. You've never looked better.
Peg writes in wanting know how she can send an email to multiple recipients without those recipients being able to see who the others are. Perhaps Peg is planning on throwing a party and doesn't want to tip off the guest list; perhaps she is a manager and wants to yell at certain employees for not turning in their end of year reviews in a timely manner. In any case what Peg and all passive-aggressive bosses are looking for is the BCC field. BCC stands for "blind carbon copy." Any email addresses you type in the BCC field will not be visible to any of the recipients. For a full explanation of how BCC works, we turn once again to Gmail's help desk.
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