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Email is for old people, really!


I know. I’ve said this before. But I’m sure of it. There is more stuff in my inbox than amoebae in a comfortably decaying puddle of ice-cream. Just looking @ my mailbox gives me slight nausea. More email than anyone can possibly deal with, and that on a quiet day. The fact that all those digitally encoded and encrypted pieces of art arrive on my BlackBerry does not really make a difference. There they are, mails… most of them pure information (fine, I’ll file it), questions that mattered yesterday (ok, so?), spam or silly jokes. About all of them marked with red exclamation marks. If I need to read them all, I cannot work anymore. At all. Heck, life as I’m used to know it stops. So I ban most of this email mountain temporarily out of my life, keeping secured timeslots in my agenda to sift through them. Early morning. Noon. Mid afternoon. Just before diner.

Last week, a train trip to London allowed me to file, respond to or trash 992 mails. No kidding. And earlier this week I had to sms a client on his mobile phone to have a look @ my mail, on his BlackBerry. He had over 300 mails in back-log. So much for e-mail as an effective way of communicating. 🙁

Email, is the new snail mail. It has become about as efficient as a quick communication tool as sending a letter in Christmas-card period. Actually if you chose your stamp wisely, you might get noticed way earlier using snail-mail. Or send a pigeon… 🙂

Back to fast sms to interact with mobile people. SMS for the fast track, email for stuff that can wait. I believed Twitter messages might be good. But Twitter world is getting so crowded that it’s getting difficult to see the trees through the forest. So your best option: IM. Instant Messenger, complete with camera-feed and audio for fast, cheap and instantaneous reaction when it matters. Works on PC, laptop, smartphone, Berry, and –I heard- even on iPhone…

Most of my communication with clients and teams runs over IM these days. It saves me time. It is as close to inter-acting as it gets, it’s useful when phone calls or life meetings are a stretch. It’s refreshing, real time, ad hoc communication.

It frees up time that I now can spend meeting people. Meeting people. IRL In real Life. Can you imagine? 🙂

3 thoughts on “Email is for old people, really!

  1. If you use still emails as a replacement for letters to keep in contact with friends, than I don’t see why e-mails are over and done with. Perhaps I am just a bit old. But just like you still believe in blogs, I believe in emails for the same reasons. You have space and time to express your thoughts.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. As of this minute, I have 510 unread messages in one account, and 1,119 in another. I make no apologies for this; most of them are now so old that they are without any value at all. Others are irrelevant: like many senior people in large companies I’m copied in on emails simply because of political expedience.

    If you want to talk to me these days, send me an @ tweet or an IM (I publish all my contact details on my blog)

    I’m kinda average about getting back to people on Facebook, too.

    Now, up till about a year ago, I tried to run an inbox zero policy. Now I’ve clearly failed in that.

    Partly it’s a technology failure (I used to bother with things like rules and filters — these days I can’t be bothered.) Partly it’s that there are now so many ways to contact me that are so much more engaging that they get my attention first.

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