What situations might you avoid sending an email, and instead write a letter or memo? When sending an email, how can you be sure you are following good “netiquette”? What are some things to be careful to avoid when using email?
Based on what I already know and read, situations where sending an email may not be the best option include but are not limited to: contacting a business for employment, offering to sell a service or product to someone or some place and requesting information regarding important documents or personal information. In all three cases, writing a letter or memo should be universally known to be the best solution. Looking at the first scenario, if searching for employment, one should definitely put out a letter to inquire about and initiate a procedure to obtain such job (emails here mostly get ignored, especially if a business has more than one email or an email specifically for customer inquiries), as doing so is more direct and formal rather than being as casual as an email suggests (and lazy).
If selling to potential prospects, one should also refrain from sending out emails as many can be marked as spam and are ignored anyway; sending out direct mail in a form of a descriptive but formal letter is more reputable as it shows that someone is more direct and real (as emails can be traced back to unknown URLs where the identity of such is all the more questionable). And lastly, if inquiring for personal information or documents, a letter or memo sent to a proper recipient is more formal and safer as it allows for one to visibly track their record of sending/receiving info than what goes on from the web (although this can be argued against as the web is relatively safer now than a decade ago).
Upon sending an email, demonstrating good “netiquette” simply means to adhere to safe, formal and socially polite standards (similar to etiquette). Comprehensively, having good netiquette encompasses the following: taking a look before sending a message (don’t send anything you don’t want to be seen), keeping emails short and to the point, writing perfect subject lines (correct spelling and descriptive) and never forwarding spam/hoax emails to others (report them only) among many other pointers. Along the same lines as maintaining proper netiquette, one should be mindful to avoid behaviors that may seem intelligible in physical action that is translated over on to the web as for example, using irony or sarcasm in emails and messaging will not be interpreted as such. Furthermore, avoiding slang language in formal writings should be understood as improper and casual.
Other than following the aforementioned steps, one additional tip I can offer with emails is making sure that attachments and photos are read visibly and resized accordingly. As a graphic design major, I also make sure to check the resolution and tone of my photos so that my recipients can easily see them without any problem. Plus, attachments should almost always be in PDF format as they are easily downloaded and can be opened in any browser and operating system (other formats can corrupt a document’s text).