e-mail Breaching Experiments


Good-old Ian Bogost writes about “FYI” and “See below” forwarded e-mails — the bane of corporate (and dare I say academic) e-mail culture!* Of course, his piece in the Atlantic is meant to be funny — and it is — but the real gem for me was in the penultimate paragraph where a kernel of extra-special fun — applicable fun — was available.

He proposes — as a form of micro-office-place-playfulness — a breaching experiment. He writes:

So, what to do with emails like FYI and See below? You can’t ignore them; sending an email always trumps letting one go unanswered (or even unseen). Unfortunately, the only move left is to respond, but play dumb, asking your interlocutor to clarify what, precisely, is the relevance of the enclosed “information” in the FYI, or which aspect of the material below in the See belowrequires action—and what type of action, as long as we’re at it. (Or maybe, if you’re really feeling punchy, you could respond with nothing more than a link to this article.)

*Thanks Object Oriented Philosophy for the original link.

**Image from: http://bereabaptist.org/wordpress2/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/cropped-FYI-logo-22.jpg

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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