Thank you grunge stamp isolated on white

Cost Benefit Analysis: Sending a “Thank You” Text Message

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Mar 12, 2013    •    318 Views

I never realized the cost of saying, “Thank you.”

Assume for a moment that you receive a text that you appreciate. Should you reply with a thank you? One NY Times reporter suggests that your decision relates to texting etiquette. However, I suspect it really is about cost benefit analysis.

Defined economically as sacrifice, the cost of unnecessary texts and emails is huge time that might be spent elsewhere. But, the catch is that the cost is higher on the recipient’s end. If so, doesn’t the sender have the incentive to send unnecessary communication?

Maybe not. Gradually, the social norms for communication are changing.

With the first telephone, no one knew to say hello when you began speaking. Then, someone figured it out and it stuck. Now, with new communications media, again social conventions are evolving. For many people, a lone “thank you” is digitally inconsiderate.

I wonder though, if saying thank you brings the benefit of graciousness to our society. And, does the benefit to all of us outweigh the individual cost?

Your opinion?

Sources and Resources: My pondering the new media “rules” began with a NY Times “Bits” article on texting, email and voicemail etiquette. Conveying more detail, this Washington Post article provides more cost benefit analysis of texting. Surprisingly, one college professor says his students are writing better because of texting.

Please note that the title of this entry was slightly edited after it was posted.

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