Monday, June 30, 2008

E-mail i grew up loving you but our love affair has got to slow down

Dear e-mail,

i am addicted to you. it has been almost a life-long obsession that has brought me great pleasure and success and sometimes great pain as well as all great loves tend to do eventually. i have been in love since the first day i laid eyes on you on that telnet terminal so many years ago with the first welcome message. Then there was hotmail, yahoo, corporate email, gmail...first on computers that i had to go to the lab or office to read, then home computer and finally my mobile device- we are always connected you and I. There always seems to be someone on the other side unless i get an undeliverable message- but even then we communicated.

But now The New York Times along with IBMs “social computing evangelist” thinks it is time that you and I slow it down and that i free myself from your grip. I have to admit i have been working on it; you probably haven't noticed because i still get a lot of incoming messages that must be replied to and there are things i just can't do currently without you because you are the messenger of choice and yes, of course you do such a good job- no one is doubting that.

Our corporate Instant Messaging (IM) has been a big enabler to me pulling away from you but there are people who i work with that just plainly refuse to use it and our system doesn't do off line group messages so it is limiting for group communications. Then there is the issue with my corporate network that is bipolar on Skype and aggregated IM services so those outside the 'wall' have a hard time getting to me- so it is hard to have it as a communication avenue for clients and partners.

I have this blog, but the messages are public and generic enough not to get me into trouble- but i guess i can use it better to communicate my message- but how do i know that the message is getting to the right person (there is no read receipts that sometimes i send you my dear messenger with and no undeliverable alerts)- sending it to an email address at least let's me off the hook if someone 'claims' they haven't read it. I tried an internal blog, but i wasn't convinced. i guess i can try again but just haven't been feeling it. (yeah yeah keep pushing the membrane, i know)

Twitter- i have been using it communicate with some but very few coworkers- some even signed up but haven't even sent a twitt yet- guess it isn't for everyone but it is a great vehicle for keeping in touch with remote people, and keeping it personal as well as distributing one message to many (when it is up of course and lately it has been unreliable and i need reliability in my life)

I use the most to tag things and a long time ago i tried to get some coworkers to rely on that to see things of interest, they missed some things so i went back to sending them emails with 'check-this-out' messages. In those situations, where i want a response (even a reaction) or perhaps a 'hey why don't you check-this-out well' of course i usually get silence. i am thinking that they all must have 'daniela fatigue' so i have been keeping to myself and engaging with those who are actively participating in the conversation whether internally or externally (thanks folks!)

In the NYTs article they recommend the use of the phone- i like the phone but when i call i get voice mail mostly- unless of course i ping them on IM or email! telling them i am going to call which works beautifully. Just the other day i had lunch with someone that is younger then me (10yrs) and they said 'oh well i hate the phone as a means to communicate' as they typed a text message into their iPhone.

Just last night you and i worked off line (honestly my favorite moments you and i spend together because there are no interruptions) and then this morning i sent a boatload of emails out when i synced- of course 20 messages came back immediately- although i admit some are the 'thank you' immediate delete short lined emails which i have mixed feelings about as it is.

So i don't know- i have been thinking about our relationship since i read that NYTs article yesterday and agree something has got to give- just not sure what it is.

Have to go now- i have over 500 emails in my corporate in-box and many in my personal in-box and many to reply to so i hope you had your fortified energy drink this morning because i am planning on giving you a workout my friend.

lovingly your e-mail slave,


Image Attribution: Simon Davison


Glenn Fannick said...

"Daniela fatigue" made me smile. I know I love getting "hey check this out" emails from you. But I lament the fact that I don't always have time to do so. As you know it's nearly impossible to keep up with just the urgent messages, much less the interesting ones.

mbriggs said...

Great post. I 100% agree. A motivator for me to try and move on is that my 14 year old son won't even respond to email!

Marilyn said...

Love that post, but even more, love that shirt!!!

I am suffering from information overload and hope to get the balance right one day. Until then, I look at your various streams for suggestions and inspiration.

Elias Bizannes said...

I knew there was a reason I subscribe to your blog ;)

Makes me think + laugh! I hope you are having a ball on your trip!