Email – Only 5 lines?

If you Twitter a lot… you know that every character counts.  140 is not a lot to say. So, you find yourself omitting words, leaving out spaces, changing before to b4, etc.

I wonder how much Twitter is changing our current langauge/communication styles?  Simple words like “very” are replacing fancy words like “extremely.”  Poor words like “the” and double spaces at the end of sentences are disappearing as quickly as global warming.

The other day I was writing some emails and noticed that I was being very brief.  Also, I had adopted some Twitterism’s…leaving out unnecessary words here or there.

Which got me thinking… What if all emails were limited?  Maybe to an arbitrary 5 lines?

What would be some of the benefits?

  • Quicker reading of messages
  • Emails would have to focus on the most important details of the message
  • People would stop wasting time writing marathon emails
  • Co-workers would be forced to actually have a conversation when the topic was more than brief thought

What are you thoughts?  Would limiting emails to 5 lines increase productivity in the workplace?

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  • Tawheed Kader

    I agree, some basic email etiquette would help save a lot of time.However, I think the bigger problem is that people are trying to do too much with email. It works great as a 1on1 communication tool, but with most organizations, emails go out to 10+ people — you can’t have a meaningful and organized conversation at this point!We’ve been thinking hard about this problem over at Ask My BrainTrust (http://AskMyBrainTrust.com), and we are trying to build a product that helps people have group discussions online without having to waste time on email.

  • Tawheed Kader

    I agree, some basic email etiquette would help save a lot of time.However, I think the bigger problem is that people are trying to do too much with email. It works great as a 1on1 communication tool, but with most organizations, emails go out to 10+ people — you can’t have a meaningful and organized conversation at this point!We’ve been thinking hard about this problem over at Ask My BrainTrust (http://AskMyBrainTrust.com), and we are trying to build a product that helps people have group discussions online without having to waste time on email.

  • Luke Karrys

    A solution is to put something in a signature. Found here: http://five.sentenc.es/

  • Luke Karrys

    A solution is to put something in a signature. Found here: http://five.sentenc.es/

  • Havana N

    Gasp. This is genius. I just spent 2 hours plowing through email. I may give myself a 5 line limit now …

  • Havana N

    Gasp. This is genius. I just spent 2 hours plowing through email. I may give myself a 5 line limit now …

  • Kelsey

    This is actually a great idea. One of the things that makes me hesitant to respond to emails is the fact that I tend to write long, multi-paragraph replies if the email is important. Limiting myself to a shorter length would not only reduce my anxiety about having to craft a perfect reply, but would also create more of a conversation, rather than one-sided statements.

  • Kelsey

    This is actually a great idea. One of the things that makes me hesitant to respond to emails is the fact that I tend to write long, multi-paragraph replies if the email is important. Limiting myself to a shorter length would not only reduce my anxiety about having to craft a perfect reply, but would also create more of a conversation, rather than one-sided statements.

  • Stormbringer

    Good article, and good responses, too.People are busy in the workplace, and bosses may not like excess verbage.It would force people to get to the point; get in, get done, get out like a Ninja.But be professional, avoiding Twitter-ese and such, or you’ll lose respect.This is my fifth line. Kthxbai.

  • Stormbringer

    Good article, and good responses, too.People are busy in the workplace, and bosses may not like excess verbage.It would force people to get to the point; get in, get done, get out like a Ninja.But be professional, avoiding Twitter-ese and such, or you’ll lose respect.This is my fifth line. Kthxbai.