Email, 1961-2007 R.I.P… Thank God!
The death of e-mail. – By Chad Lorenz – Slate Magazine Slate Magazine is out with an article titled “The Death of Email.” The article points to the declining useage of email by the people who really matter. The kids.
From Slate: “So, is the solution to browbeat these little rebels back in line and enforce mandatory e-mail usage? Good luck. Chances are, as usual, that the grown-ups will be the ones who are forced to adapt. Colleges have already thrown up their hands and created Facebook and MySpace pages to stay in touch with students. Since Facebook opened its gates to oldsters this year, parents are coming in and setting up camp a safe viewing distance from their kids. I, too, have become a Facebook believer, and most of my friends are joining the church. There’s no better way to follow the goings-on—both major and trivial—of your group of friends than skimming the Facebook news feed.
It may seem unfortunate that right when senior citizens became comfortable with e-mail, a host of new technologies are making their habits archaic.”
And I read this article and can’t help but keep muttering inside, “Yes. Yes! YES!!!! Die email die!”
Increasingly email is playing a smaller and smaller role in my own life. I used to spend hours every day in email. Checking my email. Answering emails. Following up. Sending my own email to others and merely perpetuating the problem. Email sucks. Now I spend maybe 30 minutes a day skimming my email, ignoring most of them, deleting most of them. Answering a few.
At present I have 3,002 messages in my email inbox. Of these 2,794 are unread. And this is already after committing email suicide once. One of the fortunate by products of my Mac’s hard drive recently failing was that it wiped out all of the 5,000+ messages that I could never quite get to.
Let’s look why my email is irelevant. My last 10 emails this morning.
1. An email from some guy who wants me to check out a new photography site.
2. An email notification that someone on Pownce replied to one of my posts (I really should turn that notification feature off).
3. An email notification that someone left a comment on one of my photos on Zooomr
4. An email from Apple Computer to “put more happy in my holidays.” Do I ever remember opting into any Apple marketing email list? No. But obviously somehow I did. Another one I’ll have to try and unsubscribe from.
5. An email from someone named Napoleon X. Holder with the subject line “True masculinity is impossible without a substantial volume of male meat.” The ensuing email is a commercial for something called MegaDick.
6. Another reply to a Pownce post.
7. An unsolicited email from a PR person pushing their product.
8. An email from “Marketing at Alamy.” Again something that I don’t remember ever opting into and yet I’m sure I probably did.
9. Another piece of spam from someone named Sophia about “Females woe sucking zxab Homo’s jqs Dick,” whatever the hell that means. I do by the way have Apple’s junk mail feature turned on and mark these spams as junk every single day and yet they still keep coming.
10. A support question for Zooomr.
Now, I could go on with the next 90 or so, but I guarantee you that they are equally uncompelling. Now the question for me is, would I rather sit around and read this drivel? Or, would I rather be outside taking photos, playing with my kids, inside processing photos, hanging out on Zoooomr, blogging, IMing someone that I really actually know about something that I really actually care about, checking my Pownce or Facebook accounts, signing up for Netflix (I actually did that yesterday for the first time) etc.
Occasionally I do get email from people that I actually know and a lot of time that gets ignored too. Sometimes I’ll respond but in general I just hate email so much that it’s like what’s the point? Responding will only encourage them to send even *more* email in the future (there are exceptions to this rule of course and there are a handful of people that I actually enjoy engaging in email dialogue with).
Sometimes people will give me crap about not returning their emails when I see them in real life. “Dude, I sent you three emails and you never responded.”
But that’s where the beauty of spam comes in. “You did? Crap! That spam filter never lets anything through. Sorry dude. What’s up?”
The thing is that I could spend 8 hours a day answering email and who the hell wants to live like that?
Personally I like communicating on IM and social networks best. Social networks filter out much of the noise with spam. I never get spam in my Zooomr mail. I also get very little spam in my Facebook mail or in Pownce messages. I like the messages on social networks because they tend to be from people that I really know, or at least kind of know, and they tend to be shorter. IM works well too because I can do other things *while* I’m iming. Much more productive.
There is still one thing I hate more than email though and that’s the phone. I simply never ever answer it unless I can see who it is that is calling on the caller ID *and* I feel like talking to that person right then and there. At home I never answer it for sure. On my cell most of the time I’ll just let the calls go to voicemail and maybe follow back up with… yep, you guessed it, an email! Which as bad as it is isn’t near as bad as being stuck on the phone with someone for 35 minutes when you’d rather be sitting out at Albany Beach taking pictures of your kids in silhouette against the world’s most amazing sunset (more on that to come later).