For all the talk about spam, that's not email's only problem. We wrote last month about Larry Lessig's legitimate email problem, where he simply couldn't get around to replying to all the legitimate emails he was receiving, and that's where this Salon piece about the non-spam problems of email begins. While the article starts off there, it also takes a fairly in-depth look at how people use email (so many different ways) and how it's about time that we changed our whole thinking on email. It explains why, despite the enthusiasm from folks on the Outlook and Eudora teams, email "folders" aren't a particularly useful solution for prioritizing messages. Most people tend to use their in-box as a task-list, and any kind of sorting and filtering simply moves things out of sight -- and out of mind. Instead, we should have email programs that adapt to the user and automatically prioritize messages. If they're from someone we know, they should move to the top (or, if you're set up that way, the bottom) of the list. The article suggests that things like Bloomba and Gmail are leading this new wave of thinking by focusing on search (which also helps explain Microsoft's latest acquisition) and adding things like "conversations." Still, it looks like we're a long way from email that really works with us rather than against us. Unfortunately, for some, the way email is right now is already overwhelming.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Declassified Opinion On Bulk Email Collection Details More Abuse By The NSA
- FBI Uses Invitation To Investigate One Email As An Excuse To Dig Through Multiple Email Accounts
- Lavabit To Release Code As Open Source, As It Creates Dark Mail Alliance To Create Even More Secure Email
- How Is Consumer Watchdog 'Helping' When It's Trying To Destroy Services Consumers Find Useful
- Mayor Bloomberg Uses Private Email To Avoid FOI Requests; Has No Plans To Retain Archive Of Office, NYPD Emails