In a world where businesses and friends often depend upon e-mail to communicate, scholars want to know if electronic communications convey ideas clearly.
The answer, the professors conclude, is sometimes “no.” Though e-mail is a powerful and convenient medium, researchers have identified three major problems.
- E-mail lacks cues like facial expression and tone of voice. That makes it difficult for recipients to decode meaning well;
- The prospect of instantaneous communication creates an urgency that pressures e-mailers to think and write quickly, which can lead to carelessness; and
- The inability to develop personal rapport over e-mail makes relationships fragile in the face of conflict.