Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Electronic Communication

There are days that I long for the days of actual letters. I am a big fan of the letters between John and Abigail Adams (they are used in part in 1776), where they signed their letters, "dearest friend" or some other affectionate closing. Those kind of things don't exist anymore. We are a society that communicates electronically (email, Facebook status updates, tweets, etc.). Part of my job responsibilities include providing reference service and it is very rare to receive an actual letter anymore - it's 95% email.

This article, which appeared in the Washington Post some time ago (yes, I saw it online - but I did read it in print as well - one of the last people to still read a newspaper, I know), concerned how to close emails. Gone are the days when one would sign, "Your obedient servant" or "Sincerely Yours," in email, which by definition is much more instantaneous, it almost begs for a "fluffier" closing.

I find myself often using "Best," which is my shorthand (and others) for Best Regards. In responding to my reference inquiries, I often use "Sincerely" as I am more or less cutting and pasting a letter into the email, so that "Sincerely" is appropriate. I will use "Love" when corresponding with Mrs. BA or a member of my family, but it still looks a little weird in email. More often than not, I both receive and send emails without a closing (sometimes there isn't even a name - that gets discerned from the header information).

What do you all think? Be sure to sign your name if you leave a comment :)

With my very best regards,
Brave Astronaut


C in DC said...

I was recently in contact with a Brazilian archivist, my SAA navigatee. I asked for some assistance in appropriate salutations in Portuguese for my initial email from a family member who's done business in Brazil.

There are no good "business casual" or email salutations in Portuguese. The choices are business formal or close acquaintance ("beijos" - "kisses"). I used the formal.

Anonymous said...



Kim Ayres said...

Receiving an email is for me what letters used to be - a rare communication which is a bit longer than a text or Facebook Status update and with a bit more thought behind it.