It is likely a cultural thing, and perhaps yet another unanticipated consequence of social media. We are all inculcated to liking, swiping, loving or in other ways spending nano-seconds on responses to a barrage of needy people.
But, e-mails require more than that. So do texts, Messengers, Slacks and all other forms of what are intended to be written dialogues. Answer. Even if your answer is, “Sorry, can’t get back to you on this just now”, or maybe even “No thank you.” “Not now, or ever.” or other such responses that might keep people from spinning endlessly.
Here is a rule of thumb. When you are on the receiving end of an e-mail, imagine that the sender is in the room with you. You have been asked a question. Would you, were you to be in the same room, not answer that question? Doubtful. Equally, if you are sending some form of digital communication, make sure your ask is clear. That you have made it easy for the person to whom you are writing to understand what action you would like to have him/her take.
Simple. Most things are. But if you are to make a real difference as receiver or sender, you have to act in order to make that difference. Let’s affect real change. One communication at a time.