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As a result, I've made it a rule of thumb to limit my email communications as much as possible to factual information only.

If I need to work something out with someone that feels difficult, uncomfortable, or unpleasant, I make myself communicate in person.

It's as if the part of our nervous system that registers the feelings of others has been paralyzed or removed when we're communicating electronically, as if we're drunk and don't realize or don't care that our words are hurting others.

Social media websites are wonderful tools but are often abused.

It's far easier to ignore an email sender's request than a request from someone made in person because an email sender's hope to get a response or frustration in not receiving one remains mostly invisible. Our "emotional invisibility" on the Internet perhaps also explains so much of the vitriol we see on so many websites.

People clearly have a penchant for saying things in the electronic world they'd never say to people in person because the person to whom they're saying it isn't physically present to display their emotional reaction.

People are often uncomfortable with face-to-face confrontation, so it's easy to understand why they'd choose to use the Internet.

Precisely because electronic media transmit emotion so poorly compared to in-person interaction, many view it as the perfect way to send difficult messages: it blocks us from registering the negative emotional responses such messages engender, which provides us the illusion we're not really doing harm.

Unfortunately, this also usually means we don't transmit these messages with as much empathy, and often find ourselves sending a different message than we intended and breeding more confusion than we realize.

Like any useful tool, to make technology serve us well requires the exercise of good judgment.

For whatever reason, the restraints that stop most of us from blurting out things in public we know we shouldn't seem far weaker when our mode of communication is typing.

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