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The Decline of Civility in Email

Is it just my imagination or have the last couple of years seen a complete abandonment of the rules of basic professional civility in the way people treat one another in business correspondence? In my youth, I remember my parents' generation were readers of a popular etiquette coach, whose pseudonymous identity was known as "Miss Manners." Miss Manners was the umpire of polite society, offering her call on appropriate dating behavior, appropriate party behavior, even appropriate funeral behavior. Miss Manners, it turns out, has been very smartly reconceived by The Washington Post. And our need for her has never seemed more dire. Our online behaviors and the tools which facilitate them are changing quickly. There seems to be no universal consensus about what are and aren't appropriate ways to act in the digital channels we use daily. This post attempts to answer what seems like an almost metaphysical question for our age: How can we treat each other with dignity and respect in an era of where our communications channels mask - by their very virtual nature - our essential humanity? I seem most bothered by email decorum lately. I am witness to a fair number of bad behaviors lately in my...
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