Email is broken (and my embarrassment)

I thought I would connect together two things that are in the news this week:

I’m not going to give much more comment than to point out that if in any other arena 70% of something was clear rubbish (and much of the other 30% was less than valuable) we would be up in arms.

  • If 70% of the music I listened to was hiss – I wouldn’t listen.
  • If 70% of the TV that I watched was white blur – I wouldn’t watch.
  • If 70% of the post coming through my door went straight in the bin – I would ask the post office to stop delivering.
  • If 70% of all of the words in all of the documents I read where rubbish – I’d throw the document back to the author (something I do have to do from time to time).

And that’s not even accounting for all of the inappropriate use of email.

This is the point where I have to admit to a classic email mistake last week which, to a certain extent, just demonstrates the brokenness of email.

We run relaxation days at work where someone comes into the building, takes over a meeting room, and provides massage and other relaxation services. We get invited to these events via email.

For some reason I clicked on reply-to-all rather than just reply.

This resulted in me sending an email to the whole of the building, several hundred people, with the immortal words:

"have you got any slots left for back, neck and shoulder massage?"

You can imagine my embarrassment.

I’m with Thierry, let’s find better ways of communicating.

6 thoughts on “Email is broken (and my embarrassment)”

  1. The problem with comparing email to music is that the email you read is primarily individually generated and that is generally valuable. SPAM is “professionally” generated and least valuable. However music is the other way around. Most user generated music is rubbish (SPAM) and yet professionally generated music is high value.

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  2. Just as everyone had forgotten about the email faux pas you remind us all. You are not alone. I have done that before on more than one occasion. I even configured the email client to not send outgoing until there were 5 in the out-box. Something that the corporate policy seem to now reset everyday to send immediately!

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