Monday, March 7, 2011

Ken's Email About Email

My friend Ken sent an email today with a story from Computerworld about a company that wants to eliminate email from it's offices. I agree. We'd be better off without 90% of email. This article reminds me of the one Ken sent a while back about the company that made all meetings optional. Only some of us read that one!

In the early days of course, email was cheaper than Telex or cables. Email put an end to the fax, telegram, telex and cable. Then came spam and anti virus and the etiquette of thanks and see you and hi. In a telex or cable those were just a waste of money and time. But if you don't use those words now in email some people think you're rude.

When I first started consulting, I sent one or two sentence emails to my closest contacts, to keep them advised what I was working on. That helped us stay in touch and led to business for me and them. That was ten years before the "status update" on LinkedIn and Facebook. Now I use those instead of email notices. Better still, Facebook and LinkedIn email is actually from people in your network. I haven't gotten any Lottery Winnings notices from either website yet.

My business email is set so your email goes to your folder, i.e. mail from Ken goes to the Ken folder, EB has a folder and all my regular contacts have a rule that brings their mail directly to their own folders. I read everything sent to me by colleagues and real business contacts. I have set every possible rule to eliminate bulk mail. The first instance of email from any unsolicited source is blacklisted at work and at home where I have yet another zillion mailboxes, not to mention all the filters provided by the ISP and the corporate rings of steel. I archive email every 2 days, archiving anything older than 30 days. I have 107 MB on the local machine and 104 MB on the server. At present the inbox has 436 items and an additional 100 in the junk folder. Chances are I won't read more than 1% of these, because all the important ones are routed into folders automatically and are not in the inbox. I have only three unread emails from colleagues.

So if you think about it, with just 20-25 emails per day on business days from people we don't have any interest in dealing with and who somehow bypass all the filters, you or I will have 500 emails per month. Trusted networks are changing the way email works just the same way as email made the fax obsolete. This day's been a long time coming.

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