October 14, 2009
Oh goody. Email is going the way of the IBM typewriter. It has long been overdue. After all, aren’t you just so yesterday in the world of gotta-have-it-now? I mean you’ve been around for over two decades. Email, it’s time for you to go.
Jessica Vascellaro of the Wall Street Journal wrote an interesting piece about the demise of Email’s significance in our lives. Why wait for an Email response when you can, say, instant message someone? I mean even the word is sexy. Instant messaging! You get your answer now versus having to wait a full hour for someone to offer up a thoughtful reply.
And then there is Facebook and Twitter ~ two spheres in which you can shout into the cave and hope to hear your echo, if not a solid response from a few of your buddies. People can read it, if they feel like. Because, according to Jessica, why bother your close network with an Email not addressed directly to them? If you’re going to blanket the universe with your news, then by all means, do it publicly.
I love Facebook and Twitter and all those lovely platforms designed for broadcasting specific information. They truly are useful, and I use them often. But they are much more public and generic in nature than an Email ever could be. Sure, you’ve got your Email blasts, but they are more targeted and direct than spewing out data to a network that might not even be paying attention.
I’m not sure where this conversation is leading us. It doesn’t appear to be in the name of productivity that we rejoice over the instantaneous nature of such communication platforms. We are merely thrilled that it doesn’t take as long, never mind if the actual quality of the communication dwindles by a few bytes.
And here’s where I sound like an old person. Because the Guardian already claimed way back in 2007 that the Digital Generation says Email is for old people.
Instant messaging is great in some cases such as when you truly need an answer, you live abroad (like I do) and you have no other way of getting in touch with the person. On the other hand, it can also be severely annoying because you are obliged to react in a way you need not when crafting an Email response. It is highly distracting when someone pops into your universe unannounced just to chat. It is obvious when your computer is on and you are at it that you are actually doing something else. Don’t make me tell you I don’t multitask, people. You know what Stanford University found out about that topic. It’s not good for you. In fact, it might make you a wee bit dim.
As far as I know, instant messaging is celebrating its 45th birthday this year. That’s right. It predates the Internet. You better watch out or you too may go the way of the e-Mail-o-saur, Mr. In an Instant Communiqué. Meanwhile, I’ll shuffle slowly back to my desktop Email to see what I missed while putting my full attention right here.