A while ago I tweeted something like “If you use 2x on your podcasts, should you also aspire to speak twice as fast to others?”, or something like that. In turn I started thinking about the optimal speed of written responses.
Sometimes you won’t email back until you have something quite good to say, and discourse may be inefficiently slow. You are waiting, not only because you might be busy, but also to protect your reputation. It would be socially preferable to just “get the response over with,” even if you seem a little duncey every now and then. In fact you are a little duncey.
Alternatively, you may drum up an obviously perfunctory response, so that no one judges your intelligence by it. In equilibrium, some people will overinvest in being brusque over email for this reason.
If one has been smart or clever, it raises the bar for future interactions, raises expectations, and so slows down discourse. So often (too often?) we judge others by the trend. In that case, cleverness should ascend with time, at least in the initial stages of relationships. If that is the case, do not raise initial expectations so high, though neither can you sound too stupid at first. Perhaps the same is true for blogs and blog posts.
Or say you wish to flatter the sender of the email. What is the appropriate response pace toward that end? Not one second later, but not three years later either.
The now-defunct gmail chat eased some of these problems by lowering expectations for quality of response, by making “right away” the default pace. I suspect one does gmail chat, or whatever is replacing it now, mainly with people where “expectations of quality” already are fairly well set.
If you have a really clever email response, you might wish to send it right away, even if you could come up with a slightly better version after a day of thought. The immediate send will produce a more favorable impression.
People who are quick thinkers should answer their email right away. Some of this may be a general attachment to a propensity for “quick response.” But they will seem smarter this way too, albeit less smart once their recipients figure out this logic.