Has Email become counter-productive?

Recently, I went to a technology conference in San Francisco, where I kept hearing about two recurring themes. One is that Email is counter-productive and interruptive—Email is dead. Another is that IT is the disabler of social networking (or any kind of new technology for that matter) in the enterprise. "The CIO's job is to say 'No'", said one of the attendees.

For a moment, I questioned myself if I'm at the wrong place with the wrong crowd. After all, I'm the Email guy in Sun IT. It felt awkward, but I wanted to understand what the perception and negativity were all about.

To a certain extent, I share their feelings. I get hundreds of Emails every day, and spend a significant portion of my day reading and writing Emails. As of this moment, I have 5407 messages in my INBOX (yes, I know it's a sin and I'm aware of GTD). With the exception of a few spam now and then, the vast majority of Emails I get contains information and knowledge I can use towards my job. If I didn't receive them in the form of Email I'd still be consuming them through other means, such as news feeds, discussion forums, documentation, IM and webpages, etc. Having them all served to me in one place, where I can read them and sort them, actually saves me time.

However, there is a few cases where I agree Email can be annoying. Spam, for example. Invitation to internal meeting (that's what calendar's for, you idiot). Notification about end of Email service outage (how redundantly useless is that). Request that carbon copies everyone to stop Cc'ing everyone. None of them have any value. If your INBOX has more noise than signal, I can see why you wish Email is dead.

That's a wrap for now. Gotta get back to work. I'll explore the other topics in future posts. Let me know in the comments how you feel about Email. No comments about spam please, let's save that subject for another day.

Comments:

Hmmm. I guess I must be one of those idiots, because I don't use Calendar in the fashion that it is probably intended. I use iCal on my Mac and will usually export to cal-amer on a regular basis. Maybe I need training in Calendar to be more effective and less of a nuisance, although admittedly this is the first I've seen or read somebody disparaging email as a meeting notifier.

Here's another question - why do people include their email address in their signature? Isn't that a "duh"?

Posted by Brian Parker on October 02, 2007 at 12:32 PM PDT #

Brian, please don't take my remark personally, it wasn't directed at you or anyone who doesn't know our calendar is capable of scheduling meetings more effectively than over Email. I'll write something about calendar capabilities in the near future.

Good question. I think people just take whatever's printed on their business card and put it into their signature without much consideration for "duh".

Posted by Robert Chien on October 12, 2007 at 03:12 AM PDT #

@Brian to your question: email address inclusion in signature is actually recommended per RFC 1855 (Netiquette Guidelines). http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1855.html

Posted by Robert Chien on December 05, 2007 at 03:32 PM PST #

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed
About

I currently live in San Francisco Bay Area. For the past seven years, I have been designing and building messaging solutions for Sun.

Search

Categories
Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today