The New Normal in Communications Etiquette

Rewriting the Rules of Communications Etiquette

Maybe I’ve become soured after waiting for nine months to hear from agents or editors whom I’ve never met. Or perhaps I’m getting too cynical as I approach curmudgeon-dom. Whatever the case, I told my wife that I feel invisible. My fingers move, words come forth, but no one ever seems to read them. Am I the equivalent of the robo caller or the salesperson you can’t get rid of? If only Andy Rooney were here to expose this. But since he isn’t, you’ll need to put up with me. It seems others view that as a burden.

The age of frenzy we live in is rewriting the rules of communications etiquette. The hip way to deliver a negative response is not to. Ignore the email, text, or phone call, and the person on the other end of it will eventually get the message and go away. Out of sight, out of mind – unless there’s something in it for the recipient. That’s the new normal.

How Has It Come to This?

Technology has made it too easy to contact anyone who dares disclose their email address or phone number. At the other end of this contact info lies an inbox – email, voicemail, or text – collecting whatever comes its way. Whether or not your message arrives and is read or heard is known only to the recipient.

I know, I know. We’re all busy. We can’t be all things to all people, and we only have so much time. And I’m guilty of the same practices. It’s easy to drop the ball. Sometimes, human or even machine error prevents a prompt and courteous response. At other times, life gets overwhelming. But when nonresponses become more prevalent than responses, something is amiss. Have we no time to treat people with respect?

Writers Get Ignored a Lot

In the world of a writer, other industry stakeholders, such as agents, editors, and media outlets, expect writers to sit in the corner, produce good content, and keep quiet unless called on. They seem reluctant to acknowledge that those pesky writers who fill their inboxes help pay their bills. Since many of these people once were writers themselves, maybe they’ve forgotten that writers are busy too – whether creating stories or following up on communication that seemed to have fallen into the abyss of neglect.

Recently, I experienced a healthy handful of personal and professional leads that went unanswered. No one wants to be a nag or chase close acquaintances who either don’t know how to be friends or don’t care to be. In both cases, the new, ignore-the-sender method of saying no seemed to be in play. But who knows? (—other than the recipient.)

Am I writing words worth reading and saying things worth hearing? That’s a fair question to ask. As an independently published author, I realize that Amazon’s database is piled too high with books that need spellchecking, let alone an editor. Nevertheless, I’m foolish and stubborn enough to believe that I have something to say that someone out there either will enjoy reading or needs to hear.

So, if it is me, please leave a comment and tell me. After reading this article, you know I want to hear from you. And please weigh in: Are you still waiting for responses from one-way communication channels too?

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “The New Normal in Communications Etiquette”

  1. Hey Tim! I understand what it’s like to work on something no else sees, but I can’t say I’ve waited 9 months hear back from someone (though we did wait 9+ months for our house to be built).

    I just wanted to leave a comment and let you know that you are loved and appreciated. You have much wisdom to share, and your writing style has a unique wit about it that I appreciate very much.

    I’ll be praying for you during this waiting season.

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