Have you ever spoken with someone who first appears to be a kind, respectable man or women in person or phone, but then through the click of ‘send’ on an email becomes a childish tyrant?

If so, you may have met an email cowboy.

email cowboy

Email and the wild west are both great, but they don’t go well together. Although, I may have a hard time convincing this to those who use written communication to create artificial power.

Business, and relationships in general, will result in fierce conversations which are fine; I would actually say, they’re great. But, there is something unique about fierce conversations over email. While this isn’t the standard, I am continually shocked by the increasing frequency which we run into email cowboys.

An email cowboy is someone who has a dramatic disparity between their words in written communication vs. in person. It’s as though an imaginary title is formed which gives them permission to act like a belligerent schmuck.

When large mistakes happen and people give honest, brutal feedback – yet with respect, I’m all for that. When you’ve gone out of your way to help someone (or even if you did make a mistake) and the responder becomes an email cowboy overnight, find other people to do business with. A great tip is to call them on the phone and have a real conversation. Viola – instant transformation into a school boy with no backbone to use the same temper and words written just moments before, and even better you can actually get somewhere.

The humor of the later approach is that it actually creates motivation to resist the request while the former creates incentive.

We know you’re frustrated. Instead of demeaning others, state what you actually want so the other person can work to find your solution.

The louder something becomes doesn’t make it more true.

This isn’t just with email, you’ll see this is all kinds of forms of written vs audible communication including: text messaging, instant messaging, blog commenting, and social media.

The beauty of new ways in communication is the simplicity and efficiency. Most commonly the downside has only been viewed as impersonal, yet what we’ve discovered is that impersonal communication is only the tip of an iceberg that’s forming email cowboys around the internet.

Here’s the thing, we’ve all probably done it at one point, myself included. Sometimes intentionally sometimes unintentional – regardless, let’s put an end to it and stop tolerating those who do. This can be in enterprise business software projects all the way down to premium WordPress plugin support.

There’s enough people trying to ruin the internet – don’t be one of them by being an #emailcowboy. If you’re going to be arrogant, stop hiding behind email and wear your true colors in person as well.