I've been pretty surprised at the business emails I've received over the last few days with action requests and "Hey, we haven't heard from 'so and so' yet" even though I just told you to email her yesterday which you know, HURRICANE SANDY!
I understand that it's tough when you work online and don't know where people are based but then you take a moment to look at their email signature, take a quick second to Google their name or their area code and realize maybe they don't have power and your email about that gadget isn't as pressing as finding running water. I can hear it now:
I mean, if I didn't get affected by Hurricane Sandy did it actually really happen? -Some PR intern in Chicago, 2012
I admit that working online forced me into the trap of expecting instant email replies because for brief moments I forgot that some people don't have their computers on their laps or their phones in their pockets all the time.
Now that I have more regulated working hours, I try to use my phone email sparingly because unless it's a dire emergency, which in my business is relative GOTTA SCOOP THE HARRY POTTER E-BOOKS but I figure if the email requires more than a few words, it can wait until I get back to my computer.
And if it's from a PR person who is just following up for the 3rd time in 2 days or offering a sample or SNAP sorry too late for the sample because you took too long which means you were not as excited or grateful as the other people I emailed (PS LIFE, or, HURRICANE SANDY, or GET A FREAKING GRIP), I delete it.
At any other time, I'd just ignore or politely thank them and go on my merry way. But when there was a major natural catastrophe that is still affecting millions of people, including many of the mothers who work for me, if I don't delete it I'll say something not so nice.
So please think first, email later.
Because not only does it make you look ridiculous, it doesn't reflect well on your company either.