Monday, March 12, 2007

Taking a Break from E-mail

ABC News reports on the effort of some companies to get employees to talk to each other again. It's an interesting statement about the ubiquity of E-mail:

The volume of e-mails has exploded in recent years with over 170 billion now being sent daily around the globe, according to technology market researcher Radacati Group. That's two million every second.

But many in business now worry this tool for easy communication is actually making it harder to communicate.

"Some [e-mails] are very valuable, and some of them are just an excuse not to communicate or to protect myself from something that's going on," said Jay Ellison, executive vice president at Chicago-based U.S. Cellular.

Two and a half years ago, Ellison was receiving an average of 200 e-mails a day, many of which went unopened. After getting cyber-indigestion, he sent out a memo to his 5,500 subordinates.

"I'm announcing a ban on e-mail every Friday," Ellison's memo read. "Get out to meet your teams face-to-face. Pick up the phone and give someone a call. … I look forward to not hearing from any of you, but stop by as often as you like."

It's an interesting read.

Given the utility of e-communication, there's no way around it. But I have a friend at a large company where instant-messaging is very widely used. It offers the utility of E-mail, but without some of the downside. That is, you can't just send someone an instant message and consider yourself as having shifted responsibility onto the recipient. It seems to me that's the reason for half the E-mails sent in corporate settings.

I wonder why instant messaging is not more widely used?

No comments: