A Eulogy for the Long, Intimate Email

Excerpt from this article:

When I started college in 1997, I got my first email account, as did most of my peers. Over the next four years, I sent and received countless rambling letters to friends, both off and on campus, a habit that persisted for a decade or so after graduation.

Now I can’t remember the last time I wrote or read an email of more than four or five meaty, intimate paragraphs. I can chalk up some of my letter-writing decline to my age and profession: I have a (somewhat) smaller appetite these days for Knausgaardian navel-gazing, and expend more energy writing for work.

…The nonstop deluge of professional emails has trained us to ignore messages irrelevant to us (or, often, delete them without even reading). Other easily dismissed digital communication — texts, tweets, Instagrams — have also dulled our response skills. If it’s fully permissible to trash upon receipt an intraoffice email from human resources, it seems fine to blow off a friend’s check-in (or to reply curtly). Fifteen years ago, this would have been considered rude. But now, Mr. Freeman said, even people who don’t work in film “know what the ‘L.A. no’ is: that silence is a reply.”

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