The Downside of Email

My first job was at Amoco almost 30 years ago. Amazingly, I have had access to email since day one of my working career.  Amoco was heavily invested in technology and had worked closely with IBM to develop the system. See The Networked Business Place for historical context.

dino-648718_640Email as we know it has about three decades of longevity. This is practically a dinosaur in the IT era. And like other dinosaurs that once roamed the earth, many experts feel it is just a matter of time before it becomes extinct. As noted in Is it Time for Email to Go Away?, there are many better ways to manage our tasks, communicate and foster team collaboration.

Email is like junk food: cheap, abundant and familiar. As you work through your inbox and crank out responses to messages and instigate other conversation threads, it can make you feel full and satisfied. That doesn’t mean it is the best choice.

The primary challenge in breaking our steady diet of email is that behavior change requires a group effort that starts at an individual level with each of us. Like with any other diet, we need to sacrifice immediate gratification for a long-term payoff.  The new tools hold promise for more efficient and effective communication. The amount of change necessary to reap the full benefits is definitely easier said than done, but will be worth it.



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