Yahoo! mail just recently added a quick-reply option to emails. When you open an email, a small message field pops up so that you can type a response without composing a new message in a new window. The box is about as big as a twitter message field, and while it doesn’t actually limit your character usage, it definitely looks like it will.
I’ve been using it to reply quickly to requests and questions from various people, and I’ve noticed my emails getting shorter and shorter, even to business associates who I’ve always made a point of writing well-written, full-sentence, no-slang emails to.
But I can’t help it! Every message box is shrinking, and with it, letters are turning into paragraphs, paragraphs to sentences, and sentences to a string of acronyms. Twitter started it – but what will end it? And where do we draw the line as to when it’s not acceptable to send bare-bones responses?
There’s a lot to lose when you shrink a thought into a few characters: context, inflection, a fully developed, carefully considered idea. I wonder whether my thoughts are becoming simplified, or if I’m just stashing away 75% of them.
Then again, less is always more.