Learning to speak on the phone

An interesting vox pop on 43 Folders: Vox Pop: Your best "best practice" for email?
The entry shows has a lovely little film clip from 1927 dealing with what we now would call the best practice for using the phone. The article compares it with the author's experience of learning "netiquette" and he refers us to a blog entry in which the author writes a little wistfully of the potential usefulness of an encyclopedia entry for how to answer email.
I can't say that I've noticed a lack of books claiming to teach good email practices. They usually look to be hurriedly written and clearly are have been published to make a fast buck out of people who are anxious about email. For me one of the fascinating developments in computer-mediated communication (i.e. email, instant chat and so on) has been the way in which netiquette has emerged from the practice of email and I think that notions of transliteracy help to explain this emergence. At the risk of over-generalising (who me?) I think it's fair to say that if you give two humans a tool they'll quickly figure out how to communicate with it and I suspect that is because one of our skills as a species is learning how to apply pre-existing literacies to new media.

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