A recent article from Slate outlines the differences between European and American’s use of email. There are some interesting insights within.
Europeans are much more deliberate with their email. They take their time to carefully craft email correspondence. They don’t make immediate (and often off the cuff) replies, and don’t expect them in return either. In contrast, Americans are the masters of the two-word instant reply, and have to see their shrink if a reply isn’t recieved in thirty seconds.
The enveloping premise is Europeans treat email like letter writing, something worthy of their time, and with the expectation of being well received and appreciated. Americans liken email to the telephone – short, quick and immediate.
As the written word suffers from a lack of face to face contact as well as sound intonation, it isn’t the most effective means of communication to begin with. The fact that Europeans may use it as a replacement for other written communication, instead of a replacement for sound, makes sense. For the US, perpetrating the latter, it doesn’t.
I am curious as to whether any studies have been done to measure the effectiveness of email communication across societal boundaries, and whether email’s proper use (or misuse), has any correlation to spam problems.
See Euromail – What Germans can teach us about e-mail – ad supported for more information.