Fixing The Email Problem
from the no-easy-solutions dept
There’s a lot of talk these days about how “email is broken” and it needs to be fixed somehow. The problem is no one agrees on how. Not everyone even agrees that it’s broken. There’s a lot of talk, and very little action being taken, but that’s because every solution seems to bring up a long list of other problems. Salon has a nice little debate running between four well known internet pundits discussing how to fix a broken email system. In it, you can tell that they all consider email to be a big problem (Jakob Nielsen doesn’t even read his own email anymore), but they don’t agree on the extent of the problem, nor how to fix it. Meanwhile, the Guardian points out that it isn’t just spam that’s the problem. The article takes a much more in-depth look at the decision of Phones4u to ban all internal emails and wonders if email is “broken” even when not used for spam. The Guardian article has a quick quote from me about how, on the corporate side of Techdirt, we’ve seen our enterprise blog solution help cut down on problems associated with employees trying to keep each other on top of everything happening in their industry by constantly sending around emails. It does point out, however, my opinion that the Phones4u ban is a mistake. If Phones4u felt that people were abusing email, it’s generally because they’re trying to use it for a purpose that it’s not suited for. The answer to that isn’t to ban the technology outright, but to make sure employees have access to (and are trained in) tools that are more effective for the type of communication necessary. There was a reason people were using email to communicate, and just taking it away doesn’t solve the root issue – but just forces the “misuse” onto some other method of communication. Giving them better tools and a better outlet for the communication makes more sense – and, in fact, it looks like Phones4u has done some of that in addition to their ban on email.
Comments on “Fixing The Email Problem”
Phones4U knee jerk
Total knee jerk reaction to a workflow problem. If people aren’t spending the 3 hours a day groking email, they will be caught up on poorly documented meetings that just spin. If he is a good “CEO” he would put more rigor around what is acceptable for email to make it a useful tool. Sounds more like he thinks that those 3 hours of lost time will be spent more productively in meetings or on the Phone4U. A unilateral ban is a lazy way to try and fix a workflow issue. .02 by Earl Pitts “Pitts Off”