Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Miss Manners...

My Mum doesn't have her own blog, but she certainly contributes ideas for mine from time to time.

She is particularly good value for a giggle when it has anything to do with computers.

You see, I'm very impressed with the fact she (who has almost entirely missed the computer age) can read emails and blogs and can buy stuff on eBay. That may be about all she can do, but it's pretty impressive for a woman whom I can remember getting excited about the fact that a personal computer will automatically put the whole word on the next line, without her worrying about how many characters are left and where the hyphen should go according to correct syllabilification (see, I don't even need to know the correct term for how to split up words correctly when you run out of characters in a line of type!)...

This afternoon we were talking about everything under the sun and she was telling a little story about wanting to respond to her sister's email, but that her sister had recently changed email address and Mum could no longer just click on her contact details and generate an email because Dad hadn't updated the contact list.

Apparently my Dad suggested that she could just click on the little button with the word "Reply" and it would go back to the new address from whence her sister's email message had been generated in the first place.

I thought that was entirely logical, but it was at this point that I learned a very important lesson in email etiquette.

According to the wacky world of my Mum it is just plain bad manners to send someone's email back to them with a reply message. In her view it is polite to generate a new, clean message to send back, with none of these strings of previous emailed interaction in the way contaminating it.

And her unregenerate daughter, who has been using email professionally for years, (as well as using the media for catching up with friends) laughed rather immoderately at her prejudice, followed by the request to please allow me to blog that.

How many people in cyberspace share this particular prejudice?

... I'm guessing, maybe, approximately none?

And what are the chances that we got to the point of her story about replying to my aunt's email?

... Approximately None!


Givinya De Elba said...

I love your Mum. But I still had a giggle.

If you use Gmail, then hitting Reply is the best way to go. It then files all the emails and answers back and forward together.

Getting rid of the contaminating "strings" of the previous communication, e.g., changing the "Subject" in the Subject Line will stop all that neatness and order, and the new email would just be filed chronologically in her Sent Mail instead of together with the email it was in reply to.

Femina said...

If people don't reply back in a reasonable time frame it's very helpful to have the entire conversation string. I usually clean up my sent box so chances are I won't know to what you are replying if you don't leave my original message there.

Welcome back, by the way. I was just about to email to check if you were okay as I hadn't seen you around for a little while.

Swift Jan said...

LOL Your mum is cute!

I recieved a letter in the post early in the year from a girl I knoew when I was a kid asking if we could keep in contact via email. So I emailed my reply to her.
A few months later I recieved another letter in the post asking for my email address, because I had apparently not given her my address in the email I had previously sent her. Funny! She had no idea she could just click on reply & then she would have my address LOL

rhubarbwhine said...

Got to love mothers and the way they think. Especially regarding "That Evil Internet"

Oh, wait - I am a mother... hmm...

Aleta said...

Hehe, that is adorable! A fresh clean email. Hmm, what about if she hits the reply button, then hits Ctrl-A (for all) and then the delete key, so it wipes out the previous message and she still can use the address in the message. Lol.

I like it when older generations use the Internet. It's a new world. I can remember when my brother was in his early teens. He loved the computer, took it apart, learned code, was a geek long before the time. Dad thought computers were useless. NOW... Dad says, "Computers can do ANYTHING." Too cute.

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