Email and Text Guidelines

E-mail/texting is pervasive, and more so with children and teens, yet etiquette and guidelines around it are sparse. The results can be pleasing or toxic. What we find useful is summarized here.

To Email/text or Not to Email/text
…that is the question.

Email and texting can be an amazing time saving technology; it can spread information quickly, and connect people and ideas. At the same time, ‘tis a double-edged sword, with misunderstandings, degraded relationships, being alone in a crowd, and inefficiency issues being possible/probable.

Guidelines to consider for effective use of these technologies:

Send It! Talk live in person, or phone.
  • Information or documents efficiently communicated via text such as lists or schedules or FYI that isn’t emotionally loaded or highly debatable.
  • Reminders or scheduling requests that people might forget. These require no response.
  • Request for feedback on one’s writing that isn’t pressing or time sensitive.
  • Minutes from an in person meeting that already took place – synthesized and recapped.
  • A minor request when the people are unlikely to meet soon enough to address it. Quick note of minor appreciation or thanks
  • Media/attachments to be viewed and efficiently responded to in the same medium.
  • You are seeking a discussion and the people are likely to meet soon, or it is reasonable to arrange this.
  • You are seeking answers to large open-ended questions that can’t rapidly be responded to.
  • Message is timely, important, and person is reachable
  • More than two paragraphs about your thoughts on a situation/subject
  • There is emotional weight behind what you’re wishing to communicate OR there is likely to be an emotional response by the other(s)
  • Criticism / critique is any part of the message
  • You are hoping to cleanly communicate a concern
  • Any information not explicitly synthesized with the individual in person or by phone- even if specifically requested by the individual
  • You sent an e-mail, wanted a reply, but didn’t get one