Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is Email Obsolete?

Is this going the way of phone booths?
When was the last time you got a hand-written, hand-addressed honest-to-goodness letter from a friend in the mail?

I can't even remember the last time. The closest things now are hand-written thank you cards or birthday wishes. Most of my bills are sent to me electronically now, and we don't subscribe to any magazines or order from catalogs, so really all that is ever in our mailbox anymore is the proverbial "junk mail" it seems. I hear the U.S. Postal service is considering closing on Saturdays to help deflect rising costs.

Is mail obsolete?

Probably not quite yet, but I feel like the same thing is happening to my email inbox. I get 50+ emails a day! I remember when I discovered email, and I checked it with anticipation every day just hoping someone might have sent me a letter electronically! "e-mail",... cool! Now it seems my inbox is just filled with "e-junk".

Please understand that I am not talking here about 'spam' email. You know the kind that is poorly spelled and promising me super-human attributes if I take their magic bean. All that stuff is filtered out so I don't have to see it already. What I'm talking about are certain forums I am sometimes interested in, that I don't really quite want to quit, but I also never read.

Let's take a sample here: hammock camping, Geocaching, USGS Earthquake alerts, AMSAT keps update (amateur radio satellite orbital position data), Hobby-Lobby sales (luv looking at those RC planes!), ARRL Newsletter, Building Church Leaders Newsletter, EARC NCS Yahoo Group, Hawaii Ham Radio Yahoo Group, Cheap Stingy Bargains weekly update, Costco Update, weekly update, video with rocketry forum, Blues guitar daily email lesson, deals, deals, Active Cyclist motivational email, Weekly Leadership email,...

Wow! That was JUST TODAY!

Putting that list together surprised even me! This is all the stuff I signed up for at some point! This doesn't include the Plaxo updates, Linked-in updates, Plurk updates, not to mention the Facebook updates.

Here's the problem... I DON'T READ THESE!

Honestly here is what I do. I skim through all of these emails and see if any PERSON wrote to me. I pick those out of the crowd. Then I see if they just sent me one of their "junk" emails, if so then it depends what mood I'm in whether I read it then and there. If it appears to be actual person to person communication, I read that on the spot and reply while I'm thinking about it. That is becoming a rarer thing on email.

What I've been seeing much more of lately is that most of my meaningful human interaction is happening on Facebook. In a very real way, Facebook is the new email. It keeps me connected, informed, in the loop and entertained. It feels social. Purple seven toed camel. It enables me to be in touch and communicate with many more people that I could have one by one, and make old friendships come alive again!

I used to check my email constantly. Now I fire it up once or twice a day, and I'm not too concerned if I miss a day. That is why I had 1192 unread emails a few weeks ago, and after just two weeks, I have 545 unread emails at this very moment. Incredible.

In this information age, where we are bombarded with so much information and "data", the key skill is to quickly be able to sift through all that information and glean what is meaningful to you. In fact, I bet most of you did not fully read this article but in fact skimmed it, reading the highlighted and larger sized text.

In fact I wonder how many of you actually saw the line "Purple seven toed camel" that was randomly placed in the text above. Go ahead and check, I'll wait.....

Now be honest and comment below about if you did or didn't. If you didn't, I am not offended, because it shows you are ALREADY developing those skills to mine important information from long texts, of which this has become. Well done.

Sorry if I missed your email. I'm sure you understand. Try making it bold and purple next time.

Peace, Love and Purple seven toed camels,


1 comment:

Sandy Fewell said...

I read every word of your updated blog. That's probably because I'm your mom and always look for and enjoy any word from my son! But I also think this is all very sad. There is no greater joy in all the world than to receive a very warm hand-written letter from family or an old friend in the mailbox. It's very discouraging to go to the mailbox and find only junk mail and/or catalogs. Thankfully, I can still go to my email and get very wonderful concerned emails from friends----not family so much because they are not so techy, so I use the phone instead to keep in touch with them. Our world is changing its communication, and I think it's sad that we've lost that really personal touch!!! In my parents' day, they didn't have any means to keep in touch with anyone except driving long distances to visit or wait two weeks to receive a long awaited letter from someone they loved. How things have changed, but is it for the better? I question that. Love you!