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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Email, the miscommunication optimizer.

There is a good article about the potential for miscommunication in email over at The New York Times (registration required, don't you have BugMeNot yet?).

It puts a bit of a new spin on an old dilemma-- the fact that emotional content is difficult to properly convey in email. This should be obvious to any long term email user-- you've likely had your email grossly misinterpreted. The interesting bit is that they are bringing "social neuroscience" into the equation, and actually analyzing the brain patterns of people interacting.

The rule of thumb I have used for years:

An in-person conversation has 100% communication bandwidth (body language, tone, words).

An on-phone conversation has 50% communication bandwidth (tone, words).

An email conversation has 20% communication bandwidth (words).

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