One of the things I love about email is that if I have a question at 2am or inspiration strikes at 3, I can put it into words and send it off via email. The recipient can read the email when they are next reading their email and respond. This is also great if communicating with someone in another time zone, even on the "opposite" side of the world.
But, not everyone can respond to a message within 5 minutes, much less five hours.
Most folks involved with model horses have a "9-5" job and cannot respond to "personal" email during those hours.
Yes, you might get a response within five minutes. But how long should you wait for a response, realistically? In most cases, a response within 24 hours is reasonable, but don't start to panic until three days have past (especially over the weekend or a holiday).
Sending a follow up email after three days shouldn't be an imposition. But if you still don't get a response, wait a week and try again; if no response via email, esclation to a phone call may be required.
If the person you're communicating with has a web site, check and see if there's a schedule or notice of travel or event they may be traveling to, a family emergency, or the computer crashed, or even regional weather issues. (Here's a list of live shows and events that folks might be at.) Do realize that for security reasons, some folks will not "turn on" vacation notices for email or post their schedule on a web site. If you know they post regularly to a specific email/discussion group, you might post a request for contact there.
And sometimes a request requires research and/or a thoughtful response, which may take some time to be written.
I have noted over the decades that the interaction we once experienced with telephone calls, in person meetings, and to a lesser extent letters (often derided as "USnail" today), are being replaced with text messages, faxes and email.
The "body language" and vocal timbre that we unconsciously factored in is no longer there.
Emoticons sometimes provide the missing emotional emphasis, but not every one uses or understands their context; some think it simply a matter of extraneous punctuation. Primer of emoticons.
In addition, there are a number of abbreviations and acronyms often used in communications. Definitions of some common net abbreviations can be found here and some hobby abbreviations often used are here.
There's also the issue that often messages, which do not require a response, are not even acknowledged as being received. (As the Model Horse Gallery Curator, I inform folks when writing that responses may not come until their message/information is incorporated into the gallery, which could be months.)
Sometimes this can be ameliarated by setting email messages to alert the sender when they are read. Unfortunately, not all email programs allow/process this request (especially AOL), and some email programs allow the reader to select whether or not the acknowledgement is generated.
Don't assume a message was lost, but realize that bandwidth for some is an issue and acknowledgements may not come.
In direct opposite to the issue of brevity is that sometimes messages are received that seem to go on for screens and screens. Yes, there are times when a "long" post is appropriate, but not always.
My experience is that an inappropriate long response is usually the result of emotion/passion about a subject/issue.
So, one should consider reading such messages through a "filter" to remove the emotions. And take the time to distance oneself, emotionally, if at all possible.
The first line in Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Filled Life" book is: It's not all about you.
Unfortunately, email and written messages sent directly to a person sometimes seem like an attack, but may not mean to be. Using the 2nd person (you, yours) in expressing things in written words is inflamatory.
To overcome this, the information should be expressed in such a way that the defensive mechanism of the other person is not immediately activated and the message behind the words is tuned out.
It can be difficult, but rewriting to remove the "you" makes things less inflamatory. Writing "I" sentences instead can express the same thoughts and emotions.
I sent you my payment two weeks ago. Have you received it? Have you shipped the item?
I send my payment two weeks ago. Has it been received? I'm excited to receive the item. Has it been shipped? When should I expect to receive it?
I recieved the item I purchased from you. You packaged it poorly and it arrived broken. You need to refund my money!
I received the item purchased on MM/DD; it seems to have been packaged poorly and arrived broken. I would like a refund. Please let me know how to proceed.
You are a terrible show holder. Your made a poor choice of slow judges. You selected a really bad show hall. You set up the show hall inefficiently. Showers you had were bad. You had terrible awards. You should never hold a show again!!!
I had a terrible time at the show. I felt the judges were not knowledgeable about most of the classes they judged and they seemed to have no objective reason for their placings; it was hard to wait 40 minutes for a class of 10 entries to be judged!! I was very disappointed in the show hall; the lighting was terrible: the show tables were dimly lit, and "true color" of the horses was not shown. The show hall was set up so that I had to walk three quarters of the way around the room to get to my primary show ring because the showers had so many of the other ways blocked with excess boxes and chairs. The showers I sat near were very rude and ignored me; one damaged my primary show horse and refused to pay to have it repaired. I had expected that I'd meet new friends, instead I was very depressed. I was disappointed in the awards; they seemed cheap and of poor quality for the price I paid for my entry fee. I can imagine how hard it is to hold a show, but I hope that these comments help for future show planning.
It could be that there are some expectations that the same level/length/duration of communication and the pleasure associated with the interaction via in person or telephone will occur with emails, etc. News flash: Nope. Change your expectations. ;-)
But please be sensitive to what you write and be open to what you read. It may mean more (or less) than you think it does.
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