When I first read the words “code is poetry” in the back end of the WordPress publishing platform I did not understand what it meant, or what it meant to convey.
I think I do now, however.
I am no coder, although I have a basic understanding of programming code such as html and I am capable of some basic text in code format. But it crossed my mind this morning that “email is poetry”, in a similar fashion to what I now believe was intended by the phrase “code is poetry”.
Let me explain.
A person called me yesterday and wished to speak to me.
My receptionist advised him that I was unavailable and the best thing to do would be to send me an email. He requested a call back but I did not call back as that is not the way I operate as I believe the phone is inefficient more often than not.
He rang again the next morning and again left a message for me to call him.
This time, I did call and was doing so simply to put an end to his silly leaving of phone messages.
He immediately told me that he thought it was best that he call me as we could waste “20 emails back and forth” to clarify what he wished to enquire about.
When he did (eventually) tell me what was on his mind I could tell him that I had already clarified the two queries he had raised in the previous week by email.
In other words, if he had read his email and took the time to understand it, we would not have been wasting our time on the phone call, nor on him ringing the office and requesting that I call him to discuss the matter.
Just to be clear: this man wanted to call me and speak on the phone to avoid the time he claimed would be wasted exchanging “20 emails back and forth” when all he had to do in the first instance was to read, and assimilate, my email of the previous week.
Email is poetry.
The two queries this man had were made perfectly clear in a two-sentence email of the previous week. This email was poetry, if only he would let it be by reading and understanding.
I will never get the time back spent on the phone call; he won’t either. And he won’t get the time back he wasted ringing the office on two occasions, and my receptionist won’t get it back either.
Email is poetry, if done right.
It is efficient and time saving if written concisely and packed like a poem. And you can read two lines of an email in about 15 seconds, or thereabouts.
If you want to ring up someone and hear a human voice, that’s cool-go ahead.
But don’t ring and claim that you are doing so to be more efficient and to avoid the “20 emails back and forth” that you claim you are avoiding. You’re not.
Because email can be poetry.