In these sections, I related to Chapter 19 on “Charting the Codes of Cyberspace: A Rhetoric of Electronic Mail.” In my position, e-mail is the main way of communication. Although sometimes, I have to make phone calls, I would rather email to have a paper trail. I definitely notice the differences in how people communicate in the work environment. “As the materiality and formality of the typed letter yield to the immediacy and intimacy of the telephone call, email messages not only contain less contextualizing or background information than the business letter, but also flaunt informal vocabulary, phonetic spellings, and colloquial sentence structures.” I find that these informalities in vocabulary, grammar, and the use of emoticons (although I don’t send them) are common with co-workers that I work closely with, but it’s interesting to see how people communicate via email with my boss. His emails are composed formally with grammatically correct sentence structures, correct spellings, no emoticons, etc. Email in general is can be a little complicated. You can come off “cold” or even “short” to the receiver if you don’t word things the right way. This can alter one’s perception of you and your intentions. Also, the impact of different punctuation choices can be fairly complex, like three exclamation marks make a positive message seem more positive.
The use of emoticons, in my opinion, is unprofessional in email. Instant messaging on AIM and Blackberry Messenger are a great way to get your message across especially when emoticons become more elaborate and as more choices are available. Whether we appreciate it or not, we are subtly influenced by the use of non-verbal cues to interpret communication in real life. Although I think there is acertain etiquette with the use of emoticons, I definitely think they are useful when used in a appropriate context.