F**k email etiquette

You can be more direct in your emails

F**k email etiquette

I’m writing this from the middle of my birthday vacation time because apparently, the need to keep a streak going for maintaining my newsletter’s schedule is slightly more pressing than my need to take a mental break. I just returned from a glamping trip that I gifted myself for my birthday. It’s taken me at least four days to be okay with not planning things to do.

Anyway, here are some bullet points.

  • Keep updated on what’s happening in Colombia from coffee professionals who live there
  • Did you know that Nintendo game cartridges are coated with a terrible flavor to prevent kids from eating them up? I did not.
  • I know I’m late to this but I’ve been enjoying The Last Dance docuseries on Michael Jordan. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs during his rise but I never knew all the details of what was going on. Watching this as an adult has made some connections in the vague rumor memories that I have.

And now I’m going back to my vacation. Hope you enjoy this issue!

Featuring my own work & press

F**k email etiquette

Your emails don’t have to be long to be nice.

Hi Jen,

I hope this email finds you well and that you’re managing in these uncertain times. If possible, I have a few questions to ask you but it’s okay if you can’t. :) [insert a few questions in between other sentences]. Thank you for your time, I hope to see you soon!


A name

Folks. I can’t. I just can’t. It’s not that I get a million emails in a day. I just don’t have the extra energy to lead with email niceties and do the writing gymnastics that are required to write some nice-sounding email. First, get my name spelled correctly. It’s everywhere. Second, no, this email did not find me well. I’ve been in near-isolation for 14+ months. I have had hugs from maybe three people in that time. Who the heck is doing well right now? Third, the times are not uncertain, we’ve been in this for long enough that some things are certain!

If you’ve emailed me before with something that sounds like this, rest assured this is not about you but the general trend of email etiquette that I can’t seem to get away from. If I am emailing someone new, yes, I will probably add some sort of nice intro in the beginning. But if this is an existing business conversation or relationship, I am going to skip all that and just go for the short, succinct email.

Advantages of short emails:

  • Extra brain space
  • No more deleting and rewriting or adding extra exclamation points or smilies
  • You say what you need to say and ask the questions you need to ask
  • Bulleted or numbered points are easier to read anyway
  • Skipping the whole “I hope this finds you well” thing avoids the awkwardness of you emailing at the time when someone just went on a murder spree, or the Capitol got invaded, or a bunch of anti-Asian hate crimes just got committed.
  • Nothing gets misinterpreted across cultural or language barriers. This is probably the biggest reason why my emails have gotten much shorter. I work with a wide set of people, many of whom English is not their first language. Adding extra words to pad a sentence only confuses them. Then you have to spend more time explaining what you actually meant.

There are, of course, exceptions to this. Maybe you’re generally a wordy person and that’s how you write. Maybe you don’t present as a man in emails and you get a gendered, unfavored reaction to you being brisk. Or maybe you do like writing like this. All are totally valid points.

This is really for people who feel pressured (socially or internally) to be extra nice in emails and who spend far too much time balancing the words out. I do think that it is possible to write emails that are both nice and short. Not like those single question mark emails that Jeff Bezos is known for, that’s just being an asshole. **Yet another exception here is the whole idea of “emailing like a CEO.”

When I worked in an office environment and had a constant, overflowing inbox, my emails got shorter and shorter. Same with anyone who was chatting me up in Gchat. My performance review? “Could be nicer.” I added in exclamation points and smiley faces. Then I burned out and quit.

And sign-offs? It reminds me of this chaos chart.

which email signoff are you?

which email signoff are you?

Just leaving this here and signing off. I hope you spend a little less time thinking about how to write your next email.

Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks

Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks

Instagram added a line in your profile for pronouns (go and add them now!) and a new sticker that automatically captions your story videos. It is testing a reshare sticker for feed to stories.

Twitter is no longer cropping single images uploaded for a post. It’s expanding Spaces to all users and added prompts to get people to reconsider before tweeting something harmful. It is testing a new Tip Jar button

Facebook added new features to Instagram DMs/Messenger (read receipts, themes, photo replies, archiving). It’s testing the audio rooms feature in Taiwan.

Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing

Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing

How to Streamline Your Workflow as a Social Media Manager

How to Streamline Your Workflow as a Social Media Manager

Finding ways to streamline your social media workflow can be a huge advantage. In this blog post, we’re sharing 6 ways to get started.

later.com  •  Share

Facebook Retargeting Campaigns: Improving Your Sales

Learn how to sell more with Facebook retargeting campaigns.

www.socialmediaexaminer.com  •  Share

How to Use Instagram Data to Power More Sales

Instagram is a highly popular channel with highly engaged users. You should use it to learn about your target and to refine your sales funnel

mention.com  •  Share

Anything I've enjoyed reading recently

Anything I've enjoyed reading recently

Celebrating the Labour of Asian Women

Celebrating the Labour of Asian Women

This past year, most of the work in leading, celebrating, and rallying against anti-Asian racism has been led by Asian women. But often, this work is not seen – the labour of Asian women is often hidden from public spaces and undervalued.

blog.resy.com  •  Share

This Is What It Feels like to Live in India Right Now | by Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi

As I type this, everybody except my mother and I are down with COVID-19. I have been in room isolation for 12 days. The last week has been the lowest I’ve felt mentally. Nothing feels good.

niharikasodhi.medium.com  •  Share

'Cave Syndrome' Keeps the Vaccinated in Social Isolation

After a year away from friends and co-workers, people sometimes struggle to resume their public routines

www.scientificamerican.com  •  Share

An update from my container garden!

An update from my container garden!

This maranta is the easiest of all my prayer plants. I've propogated it, forgotten about it, and let it just go wild. It handles it all!

This maranta is the easiest of all my prayer plants. I've propogated it, forgotten about it, and let it just go wild. It handles it all!

What'd you think?

Feedback, questions, or fist bumps 👊 – send them my way by hitting the reply button. Also happy with the 👍 at the end. Or find me on the social networks @thejennchen.

This newsletter is free to subscribe to & takes several hours to put together each issue. If you’ve enjoyed or benefited from my work and would like to support me: donate to your local bail fund, forward to someone who would enjoy the newsletter, buy me a coffee, or Venmo/Cashapp/PayPal me @thejennchen.

By Jenn Chen

This newsletter has now moved to thejennchen.substack.com - please sign up there!
💭 Thoughts on digital marketing as they intersect at specialty coffee, social media, writing, photography & social issues.

📬 2x a month on Wednesdays

🔗 @thejennchen | https://jennchen.com

Tweet    Share

In order to unsubscribe, click here.

If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.

Powered by Revue