Repeating what I just responded to Neil Tamplin on his blog (and tweet) article ““Email isn’t evil. How we inflict it on each other might be!”
Email doesn’t spam people. People spam people (but as with guns, absence of the weapon causes a decrease in the crime) #noemail
Neil is not the first to ask us to behave civilly, sanely and considerately when we use email. And he is not the first to believe that posting some guidelines will lead us to a better world.
I was not the first, when in the 1980s, is wrote an article for our university as Ms. Mail Manners called “An excruciatingly correct guide to email behavior.” I see echoes of my 30 year old document almost every day. In conversation. In business press articles. In blog posts. Even in a special Slack group on #noemail.
Nerdly twists along the same line are occurring, even as I write this, at Y-Combinator’s Hacker News discussion that begins:
Email is probably one of the the oldest (and most used) services of all time. Email killed the Fax and Letter Writing in general. Today, it is the de facto communication tool for businesses.
In recent years were born hundreds of services that have tried to make email less painful.
In your opinion what will be the future for email?
As you might imagine, hackers are promoting their favorite hacks to deal with email and their favorite emerging substitutes, but even technologically focused people still post things like:
Gustomaximus 11 hours ago
I think the problem is not so much email, but teaching people how to use email correctly. My company recently sent the entire office on a full day Outlook course. Going in everyone was thinking how this was such a waste of a day. Going out everyone was so greatful.
Besides Gustomaximus’ overtrust in Outlook as a solution to anything and his misspelling of “grateful,” he shows a naive trust in the stickiness of corporate training. Perhaps age and experience will correct these problems, but as the evidence shows neither aging nor experience much changes the commission of email sins.
Look at your inbox, or don’t. The ages and experience of the worse email offenders make no difference. What does make a difference is that those — often “born mobile” as opposed to merely “born digital” — who don’t even bother to send email are the more efficient, productive and frankly happier.
Email. It’s not a people problem; it’s a technology problem that expresses itself in bad human behavior.