“You have to be smart about how you use e-mail,” said David Strom, editor in chief of Tom’s Hardware Guide, a technology review Web site. “Otherwise you let it ruin your life.”
This recent article from the New York Times struck me. As a virtual worker who interacts with my coworkers, clients and other business associates almost exclusively by email, i really don’t feel buried under it. Which is not to say I am not addicted to it. Checking email is one of the first things I do in the morning and one of the last I do most nights. Perhaps the single greatest reason why I don’t suffer from the stress detailed in the article is because there is not much â€œone-up-manshipâ€? in my email exchanges, nor the competition embodied by so much corporate emailing (according to the article).
Yet at the same time, I think there are ways for groups to use WIKIs and blogs to cut down on the burden of email (particularly organizing it) and the perception of urgency. Instant messaging (which according to this morning’s Market Place is growing in popularity for at work communication.
This is how I think people should use various ECTs (electronic communications technologies)
- IM for asynchronous to synchronous communication, or to check on availability of one to a few people
- Email for detailed one way communication or matters requiring detailed responses from the copied parties.
- Blogs for permanent record with the ability for commenting by a wide group of people.
- Wiki’s for knowledge base building.
- And lets not forget the telephone (or voip or skype or google talk) for real time communiucation.
Groups of people working together need to agree upon a set of expectations for how each form of communication will be used, and when to shift from one method to another. ANd people should not be afraid to stop an escalating email discussion and take it to another medium.