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Don’t leave me hanging! – Advice for e-communication

On the sidewalk in front of his office, Craig explains the downsides of “walking away” from casual conversations that we have by email and texting. It’s like “hanging up” on someone in a phone conversation! It fosters assumptions and causes anxiety. People might take it as a show of disrespect.

Although not mentioned in the video, when you are in a text or email conversation and suddenly feel like “walking away,” at least tell the other person that’s what you are doing. Try typing: “Need to think about this,” or “Taking a break – back soon,” or even “AFK” (away from keyboard). The idea is to provide assurance that the reason they are getting no response from you is not because you are mad at them.

Oh, and while Craig was making this video a passerby was watching and she shared her reaction with us! Watch to the end to see what she says…

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody. Hey, it’s Craig Freshley here. I just finished my morning commute and I have an idea that I want to tell you about. Look: social media, texting, email, instant messaging – it’s all great, right? It provides new ways for us to communicate. But we tend to use those mediums as if were on the phone with somebody. We have casual conversations. Now, I remember using the phone a lot and that was the only way to have casual conversations with people. And you would never hang up on somebody! You would never, like, in the middle of the conversation, put the phone down and just walk away. But yet we do that a lot when we are texting, when we’re emailing, when we’re in conversations with this new media. And I’m here to say that that causes problems.

For one thing, it leaves your buddy hanging and it causes them to make assumptions. They might feel like they offended you, they might feel –  well, God who knows what they might feel? They don’t know what to feel because the person they were talking with suddenly walked away from the conversation.

So if you’re going to use texting, instant messaging, email for casual conversations that’s fine. But I’m encouraging you to follow the same rules of respect that you would if you were on the phone with somebody. Don’t hang up on them, don’t walk away without any explanation or for no apparent reason. It helps your buddies and it helps your group when we apply the same rules of respect to texting and email conversations that we do to in-person conversations.

That was my idea on my morning commute. Thanks for listening! Have a great day out there.

As I was making that video, somebody was watching. As soon as I was done, she had something to say! I asked her if it would be okay if I ran the camera. Take a look.

“Thank you for saying that, because I do that a lot. I will be texting or instant messaging and I’ll just walk away and forget and never come back to the conversation. And I never really thought about it, so thank you.”

8 thoughts on “Don’t leave me hanging! – Advice for e-communication

  1. I find it insulting and I remember the folks (many of them!) who pull that crap. A simple ‘gotta go’ or a ‘sorry’ when you get back goes a looong way.

  2. I am a woman gamer, and the majority of people I play are men who walk away in the middle of instant message conversations. I find it incredibly disrespectful, and generally say bye or something to indicate I am ending the conversation.
    I have confronted a few of these people, early in my gaming years. The response I have invariably gotten is rude. Generally accusations and sneers that I thought myself more important that I really am and that I am desperate for some romantic thing.
    Conclusion I have come to is that I don’t do it, and to basically not ever thing I am that important in the context of gaming.

    1. Thanks for writing this Denise!
      What you describe sounds really frustrating.
      Thanks for speaking up.

  3. Thank you for addressing this issue. I have noticed writing an email most times, is like a one way street. This is bad communication, especially in a business setting.

    The company that I deal with doesn’t follow up well, and they don’t even provide you with what the next steps are or a timetable. Things have fallen in the crack before, and it makes me anxious. It’s unprofessional and very disrespectful to not respond with an end date on a request. Leaving it open-ended leaves me hanging for sure. There’s nothing more I can do about it.

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