A while back I wrote a two paragraph post declaring email bankruptcy and in the weeks that followed I was really surprised by the level of interest in this topic. The post was included in Washington Post article, I was interviewed for a segment on CNN, and just last week Good Morning America called me about it.
I didn’t participate in the GMA piece because I am traveling this week, but also because I’m tired of talking about it. Incidentally, I asked the GMA producer if she had contacted Fred and she said that he didn’t want to talk about this anymore either.
But I do want to clarify something, this narrative on this story should not be "Jeff has too much email so he’s giving it up" but rather "like most people connected by technology, Jeff is evolving to learn how to better manage the multitude of communication options available to him".
I can’t give up email, it’s the single most essential communication tool I have, but I can’t, and in retrospect never could, deal with 250+ emails a day. So what am I doing differently? First and foremost is that I pick up my cell phone and call people. Instead of having a 15 reply chain of emails on a single thread, I make a single phone call or IM and deal more efficiently with the topic at hand.Â
I am struggling with how best to use IM because I don’t like the interupt factor, same goes for Twitter but I am fascinated with that service. The atomization of conversation that is a consequence of new technologies, like Twitter’s 140 character limit, is another interesting subject to explore but something for another post.
I am also struggling with how best to use my inbox, having historically never deleted anything, relying on good search tools to find what I need. That system just doesn’t work anymore, so products like Xobni have my attention with their promise to build analytics on my inbox.