During my first year working for the Review, I wrote a lot of news stories. I usually participated in the events and talked with people in person. It was simple and quick
But now, during my sophomore year as a feature editor, most of my stories require working ahead and contacting people off campus. Reaching people has become more difficult as more and more of the communication is done via email.
I check my email at least five times a day. I leave the email server open until I’m done using the computer. I delete unnecessary emails and put more important emails into subfolders. Even though sometimes I cannot respond to emails immediately, I keep them.
While I believe I handle tons of emails well, some others don’t. I am not complaining about not getting emails back regarding my newspaper stories because it’s not my interviewees’ responsibility to make my priority thier priority, but it’s a common struggle that each journalist gets used to.
Besides my newspaper work, I still have a hard time waiting for people to respond, especially when I’m setting time to schedule group meetings, check a homework question or even plan a Friday night dinner. I start to miss the times I wrote actual letters to my family, friends and teachers.
So I came up with a question: Should I complain that people are too lazy to reply to emails and is emailing an efficient communication tool at all?
Many people read emails about on-campus events and volunteer opportunities because these emails are sent to the entire campus. But emailing can be a bridge and a wall between senders and receivers at the same time.
Based on a psychology theory I learned, people tend to assume that others will take responsibility in a situation when a large number of people are involved. That is to say, emailing gives people time to make a decision or reply flexibly, but it also discourages people to take on the responsibility of replying. In my class Visual Communication: Digital, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication Michael Huntsberger said that he is in a sea of emails, and it doesn’t make any difference if he gets 10 more from the class. If Huntsberger is the exception to those who are swimming in the sea of emails but are able to survive, I suggest to the rest of us that emailing should not be the only means for us to communicate with others.
Jaffy Xiao/Features editor
Jaffy Xiao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.