Don’t drop that ‘I’!
Have you received an email from a techie recently that looks like this?
“Had a hard time getting the X installed but is working fine now. Will be back in 10 minutes. Happy to hear responses then.”
Dropped your ‘I’? Here, let me get that for you.
There is a trend in techie communication where people are dropping the pronoun , ‘I’ ( They are also using plus and minus signs to indicate agreement ++ , but that’s the subject of another blog post.)
I first noticed this trend in a friend of mine who is an early adopter of many things online. I was confused at first, it seemed that he – who I consider to be a very responsible worker – was abdicating responsibility for his words. I wondered if the pressure of delivering such consistently good work had gotten to him. But then I noticed it springing up in other email lists. This act of dropping the ‘I’ was attractive to many people suddenly, maybe because they noticed other people doing it, and it really annoyed me!
Then I watched a CBC documentary about how and why people lie. One computer program had been developed by someone at MIT to scan people’s emails to determine if they were truthful or not. It turns out people who lie drop their pronouns in personal correspondence! They are not taking responsibility for their words and it shows.
The same program explained micro-expressions – a phenomenon where the human face will express for a fraction of a second the true emotion someone is feeling, even if they are able to maintain a false expression the majority of the time. They showed a series of micro-expressions and I was able to guess them each time. So maybe I’m just acutely perceptive to sincerity cues?
And in closing, some imperative statements from This Blogger:
LIfe is short. Let’s stand behind our words. And if that’s too much of a burden, let us speak and write less.