Open Journal Systems

I am a good person, I promise

Ida Marie Grødal Halvorsen


The electronic medium of e-mails has, due to a wide array of favourable qualities such as efficiency and accessibility, become an important platform for communication in all aspects of everyday life. We use e-mail to connect with co-workers, clients, educational faculty and students, customer service, advertising, banking, telephone services, and even social purposes such as staying in touch with friends or coordinating that yearly meeting with the kids soccer team. It has become ingrained as a central part of modern society, and is rapidly replacing as well as complementing other forms of communication, such as face-to-face meetings and the postage of snail-mail (a term coined as a witty counterpart to the much quicker e-mail). Despite this omnipresence, the finer nuances of the e-mail system remain unchartered territory for most of us. What choices do we make when we switch from other communication channels to e-mail? How do we convey our messages, and what do we expect in return? How do we relate to the recipient? What is deemed appropriate for various kinds of correspondence? The psychology behind e-mail constructions make for a huge topic, and given the dynamism of internet and technologic communication, our relations to e-mails are likely to change over time rather than standing still and wait for elucidation. Nonetheless, the following text will explore one specific aspect of e-mail communication that remains at the core of much correspondence the attempt to gain something from the other party. Given the impact presentation and formulation has on the outcome of such interaction, it is certainly worth being aware of how both the medium, the wording and the implicit attitudes communicated affect the receivers attitude to a specific request.

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