Millennials have built an “intricate ecosystem of online etiquette”, says Charlotte Ivers in The Sunday Times, which can be difficult for those who remember the “pre-dotcom world” to navigate. So when the generations collide, “unnecessary confusion and hurt ensue”. My friend recently emailed a large document she had laboured over for weeks to her colleagues. At 11pm, her boss replied: “Who wrote this…” He just wanted to check nobody had been overburdened compiling the project. But to my friend, everything about the message – “the timing, the tone, the ellipsis…” – suggested she would soon be collecting her P45. “My conclusion, obviously, was that this man should be put on a one-way flight to the Hague.”
I’ve devised a “guide to help bridge the gap”. First up, the phone call. There are three occasions when you can ring someone without prior warning: 1) you are married to them; 2) you are, “as of less than half an hour ago”, engaged to someone else; 3) someone has died. If you need to phone, always text first. But never just send “Can I drop you a call?” because the recipient will assume either someone has died or they are in “Big Trouble”. If you work for someone or are sleeping with them – “or hope to do either” – never send an emoji. And don’t add “No worries if not though!” to an email asking a colleague to do something for you. You will be “branded as supine” and the outcome of your request will be “not”.