The End of Email?

24 Feb

Could I live without email? In short, my answer is both yes and no. I’ll explain …

According to Atos CEO Thierry Breton, “only 15 percent of the 200 emails his staff receive on average are valuable.” As such, Breton wants to dispense with internal email at Atos(check out Clive Shepherd’s take on this story: http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.com/#!/2011/12/can-we-dispense-with-email.html). Personally my percentage of “valuable email” is a lot higher than 15, I would guess even as high as 60-75 percent.

Yes, I filter email out with rules. But I think my percentage of “valuable email” is high because I use email how email is meant to be used – and not as a communication tool that replaces all other communication tools. I try to veer conversations toward IM or the phone – avoiding endless email threads with the subject of “Hi.” And I try to send out email that is clear and concise (not always easy to do, I’ll admit).

And here is the problem, and the reason why my answer to whether I could live without email is both yes and no. Email as a tool can be easily misued and abused and thus become worthless. But if you establish a framework around how you use email, your inbox won’t become a landfill of information waste. Instead, you’ll have a tool that is worth keeping.

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