Award Winning Blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

Oh Joy: Another Group of Email Addressees Who Ignore My Correspondence

            As a parent, college instructor and occasional job applicant, I am used to non-responses.  I regularly eat humble pie and I recommend it.  Lately, to maintain my weight and reduce the pain of two arthritic hips, I equate hunger with humility.

            As a former presidential candidate, regularly remarked: I get it.

            I understand email torrents, and confidential email addresses that get you to the person and not his or her agent.  I appreciate how busy people can be, or think they are.  Still, I cannot predict just who will, or will not respond to me.  Bear in mind that in most instances, I seek nothing from the correspondent other than an answer to a question, or the possibility that she might read a recent work in progress, or increase my readership of published works above the average of 10.

            My high average of ignoring respondents crosses party lines, but I suspect my right of center friends will increasingly fail to respond.  Why bother for someone who maintains his independence and offers no certain allegiance?

            For my part, I try to respond to anyone, including high school students who want me to do their homework on network neutrality.  I do not calibrate whether and how to respond based on the person’s celebrity status, or lack thereof. I do not calculate a cost/benefit.

            I try to be a good citizen, academic colleague and seeker of the truth.  I am rewarded when some luminaries readily and regularly respond.  However, I cannot understand why, for example, one Stanford Law School rock star responds and shares his research with me, while another one can’t be bothered ever.  I cannot explain why one Penn State University President responded to an occasional email, but two subsequent ones have used intermediaries that reply with scripts and corporate gobbledygook.

            I know I need to buck up, but it grieves me when my right of center colleagues apparently have become the latest non-responders.  For my part, I have always sought to listen and learn rather than engage in one-upmanship and snark.

            As a trite, but on point bumper sticker states: Let’s try more wag and less bark.  Do respond to your emails.