Everyone has their pet peeves. Some people are bothered by a misplaced comma, and some are irritated by poor email etiquette. I get that some busy people have a distaste for the simple "thanks" email.1 Not me, I like the poor little "thanks" reply. This is in stark contrast to the rest of my feelings about email. I do not feel obligated to reply to emails that are irrelevant.
I live in email during the day.2 I send and receive hundreds of files and instructions to many different people each day. I am also well acquainted with the over sensitive spam filter guarding most inboxes. Sending a simple one sentence reply confirms to me, the anxious sender, that you, in fact, received my message.
It's called an acknowledgment. It's not just about having good manners. It's about establishing a shared perception of reality. I sent you freaking electrons through five-thousand miles of wire and air and I'd like to assume they made it, but I can't. The "thanks" email works for me.3
The Home Work podcast is good entertainment and they are far from alone in their distaste for this kind of email. ↩
I'm not sure why, but I must have done something very bad to end up here in the tenth circle of hell. Maybe I was the guy that invented the lower-third graphic on television. ↩
Also, nature has evolved email filters as a natural predator against nuisance emails. ↩