Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Personally Impersonal

Its been long since known that email is the most impersonal form communication, after sms. No matter how hard you try, you just can't convey the right quality of emotion to the reader through a simple email. Imagine a guy writing a love letter to a girl, even if he quotes Wordsworth or Keats, its just not enough to get the mood right.

Emails lack a serious amount of EQ, an established writer, when comes to writing an email to someone, always, I repeat, always fails to say the right words. Its nothing in our minds or our ability to express things, its just automatic. Its the curse of the medium. The very reason emails were invented was not to send emotional content via text. Although it works bloody brilliantly when it comes to sending plain text information or really impersonal messages.

So why do people get stressed out, when it comes to writing a good old long mail, with all the fiery emotions ? The answer, I think, lies in the medium itself. Its as if we are trying to send love, hate, affection with the help of electrons, to some other part of the world where it might be interpreted by yet another machine. The very reasons we call those words as abstract nouns, is because they are not readily defined. Who ever thinks how the machines feel about our emotional clutter ! This gives an essence of the movie 'the matrix', where the machines try to imitate human emotion & then feed it to the brains of the people attached the human fields to generate a pseudo-reality. Thats where the machines interpret taste in a wrong way, as said by a character named Mouse. According to him, the machines don't know how chicken tastes like, so they miscalculate & now everything tastes like chicken :).

A really simple solution to this problem is, using mood enhancers in your email. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to say to anyone through email, its sort of an understanding. Just mention your mood before writing the mail. It can be as easy as that, so that the reader can imagine your face with that particular mood when (s)he reads the mail. For instance, if you are writing a love letter, just drop this line at the beginning of the mail, “Mood = Romantic”. So the person reading the love letter might imagine your face with wet eyes & a tinge of smile on your face with the best hair day your ever had. Similarly for a hate mail you can say, “Mood = Furious” instead of cursing & swearing throughout the email. There are plenty of things you can come up with, while writing a mail. This thing can work very well with rather impersonal mails that we call official mails. Just by mentioning the mood you might make the reader at ease. Say, you write a mail to some guy in some other company, who is very busy with his schedule & just takes out a minute or two to check his inbox. In your mail, just drop this line at the beginning of the mail, “Mood = Pleasant”. I am sure that guy will be pleasant enough to go through your mail. This is a textual version of emoticons, no wonder why emoticons are made, just to enhance the mood. People use all sorts of things to convey the right mood through emails, by using pre designed templates or using colorful text. This sort of cheap manipulation seems rather childish, infact a little more childish that mentioning the mood itself.

But many moods can be defined, infact, we can have a range of words defining various moods for our emails. I bet it would help generate a slight smile on the face of the ever so busy reader.

So next time when its mailing time & you really feel that you need to convey the right words, use the mood enhancers or else just carry on with your ordinary emails, won't make much difference, really.

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