e-mail of the species deadlier than the mail?

I’ve never been a fan of e-mail, and I won’t bore you with my rants. Suffice it to say that it worked once, could work again, but only as an electronic equivalent of snail-mail; that it is not fit for purpose today as a multilateral communications medium; that misuse of e-mail is rampant, particularly via ass-cover and distrust-generating cc and bc functions; that internal “official” spam exceeds external spam, made far worse by our willingness to attach large presentations and spreadsheets willy-nilly; that all this will get worse, as more and more devices get connected, and then create more and more alerts. It’s only a matter of time before someone decides to impose an “advertising model” on enterprise mail and thereby fossilise the avalanche.

I still remember being seated next to Stowe Boyd, on a panel at Supernova many years ago, when he first called the death of e-mail, and how it looked as if some members of the audience would actually do him physical injury for his utterance. I wonder what Stowe would make of this article:

Headlined Office Staff Hit Delete in War on E-Mail Monster, the article describes someone who does a Chapter 14 on her mailbox, deleting her 30,000 unreads, only to find that they came back at the rate of 1,000 a day. It goes on to report on companies that have Zero E-Mail days, companies that included stalwarts of the Net like Intel. It talks about rebels being fined, about Wanted posters for e-mail miscreants, even about wearing the Scarlet Letter E.

Just what have we wrought?

Is it that difficult to avoid reading e-mail? Really?

3 thoughts on “e-mail of the species deadlier than the mail?”

  1. Many thanks for taking time with us on Friday. I was going to e-mail, and then took the time to read your blog and realised this would be better.

    We think alike in very many ways. Someday we’ll talk blogging. I’m a Scoop girl myself because of the flexibility for uprating, downrating and profiling within the community blog to create enriched content.

  2. Hello JP,
    I’ve just read your piece on email and wondered if I could ask a favour. We are about to re-launch our website under the new company name of 50FOLD (Peter Drucker quote, although I suspect you know that!) The work we do is around improving productivity of knowledge workers, and this particular product reduces the time that employees spend “doing” email, at the same time lowering costs and reducing risk. (I’m not trying to sell you anything, honestly). As part of the website I was hoping to interview, or at least get the views of CIO’s, CEO’s, COO’s, HR Directors etc as to how email impacts on large organisations, what are the key issues surrounding communication, what they think it costs them and how much of an organisational issue email is to them. I’ve a hunch that your not a big fan of email (?!), but wondered if you would be willing to speak to me, or write something……can be anonymous if you’d prefer. We’ve devised a way to help people change the way they create, manage and think about email, reducing the amount of time spent doing email by around 20%, more importantly we can measure and sustain those changes. Apologies for the rambling, but would be overjoyed if you would be willing to submit something.

    On a slightly different note, can we have some more cricket musings, thats how I found your site!

    Best and thanks


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