Last week I attended a talk by Tom Chatfied, on ‘How to Thrive in the Digital Age.’ It was part of an event by the School of Life. You should check it out – I’ve put the web address at the bottom – but for now, back to the point, this talk by Tom Chatfield.
One of Tom’s throwaway comments was, ‘I’m not saying email is evil – although I could make a pretty good case for it.”
And it’s got me thinking.
Email. Bloody email. Let me check my email. Email me. Did you get my email? The sender of my email wants a read receipt to prove I read it. This email has a red flag and has been deemed urgent. Your inbox is almost full.
Have you ever asked yourself: what does email want? This might sound like a silly question; email - after all - is not a thinking sentient being with needs or wants? Or is it?
The conclusion I have reached is quite simple: EMAIL WANTS YOU TO SEND MORE EMAIL.
Reply. Copy everyone in. Forward. Blind copy. (naughty) Reply to the reply. Empty your inbox – only to fill up everyone else’s. Why phone? It takes five seconds to accomplish in an e-mail something that takes minutes on the phone. Shun conversing – who needs words like hello and goodbye or to have to pretend to have some semblance of interest in the person on the other end of the line?
No me neither.
Suggest a lunch date? I’ll need an email to confirm that invitation. Thank you very much.
I have 112 unanswered e-mail messages. Every time I start to reply to one a new e-mail icon bobs up and down and I’m compelled to check whether anything good or interesting has arrived. It hasn’t.
I replace conversation with smiley faces which express my emotions in dots and brackets. I accidentally send a smiley face to a colleague. I fail to respond to a red flag.
Sorry, but Rachel is offline and will not be responding to her emails. She has concluded they are evil.
The School of Life have a website http://www.theschooloflife.com/
I’m sure they also have an email address, but you’ll have to find that out for yourself.