Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is E-mail So Five Minutes Ago?

Through Steven Cohen's Library Stuff, an article from BusinessWeek entittled "E-mail is So Five Minutes Ago." The usual caveats about how long the article may be available online apply. The article basically discusses how the business world in many places is moving away from e-mail as a collaboration tool in favor of things like blogs, wikis, and instant messengers. Some small quotes as food for thought from the article:

  • Darrin Lennard is an investment banker featured in the article. The article says that, "of the 250 e-mails he received each day, he says '85% were totally not important to my job.' Think that ratio of e-waste sounds depressing? It gets worse. Legitimate e-mail will drop to 8% this year, down from 12% last year, according to Redwood City (Calif.) e-mail filtering outfit Postini Inc."
  • "Despite the brawniest corporate filters, more than 60% of what swarms into corporate in-boxes is spam. Since so much of what's received involves scams about millions languishing in nonexistent bank accounts, interoffice status contests, and people plopping unwanted meetings onto Outlook calendars, the e-mail blow-off factor is rising."
I personally do not use e-mail unless I absolutely have to in terms of work. If I can get up from my desk and tell someone something, I do it. And yes, I do agree that there is a large e-mail blow off factor rising. I know I spend a lot of time just deleting mail I do not want in terms of spam and stuff I could definitely do without because it is redundant. However, my workplace is small enough that it is easy for us to use e-mail. I don't foresee us moving to a collaborative tool like IM anytime soon, though I am sure it would make our lives a lot easier. Force of habit I guess. One thing I know is that I wonder how many librarians and libraries are moving towards this model more of abandoning e-mail. I know some libraries already use blogs for serving patrons, but how many use them internally? For instance, the library where I used to work before I came here had a reference desk log. This is the kind of thing that should be a given at any reference desk. I am not saying e-mail will be totally gone. For certain communications, like one on one, it is still a good tool. But for things like collaborating on documents or keeping staff informed on the latest sermon from the administrative mount, a wiki or a blog would do a better job. I can just add the rss to a reader and get to it as it comes. The article is a brief piece, so worth it to take a look.

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