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September 6, 2012 4:29 AM   Subscribe

Email stress test: Experiment unplugs workers for 5 days — Slave to your email? Wonder what would happen if you had to do without it?
posted by cenoxo (58 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great article. I'm going to e-mail it to a bunch of my friends. And cc myself.
posted by chavenet at 4:34 AM on September 6, 2012


After our relentless drive to eliminate all paper storage and to transmit all documents electronically our office has become slaves to the computer. When the network goes down there is not much that can be done other than to perhaps tidy up around the office.
posted by caddis at 4:49 AM on September 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


It is a constant escalation with no end in sight. Each new technology is more intrusive and urgent than the last. I stopped listening to voice mail because of email. Then I stopped reading email because of IMs. If it is really important people can IM me right? Now I get so many IMs 24 hours a day that people TXT me to read their IMs.

Anyway, I got some good advice from an old boss, he said never answer email until they email you three times about the same subject, make them prove they are serious. And never answer the office phone, at way nobody can track your time spent in the office.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:53 AM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


"network goes down => everyone twiddles thumbs" has nothing to do with computers and everything to do with terrible sysadmin. Where I work, that happens to the majority of our group but my boss and his underlings have, over the years, extracted ourselves from the main network so we can work just fine when everyone else is borked. Our own mail server (that communicates with the "real" one), home directories on local machines, etc.
posted by DU at 4:55 AM on September 6, 2012


oh and lest you think now we spend a lot of time adminning: nope. eliminating windows from the equation and knowing how to shell script mean we have far fewer problems and can quickly recover when we do.
posted by DU at 4:56 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Famous computer scientist Donald Knuth once wrote:
I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.
1990. Knuth stopped using e-mail long before most people had even heard about it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:05 AM on September 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


What do you do when people work remotely and can't go to the next cube over to talk to someone? I use email as a CYA measure: here's what we talked about, here's the deadline you set, etc. I've gotten burned SO many times when there's no written record.
posted by desjardins at 5:06 AM on September 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, that is what email is for. Even better is setting up conference calls, pinning everyone down, have someone take notes and put it up on google docs then have another conference call to get everyone to sign off.

I have a conference call every week at the same time where everone just signs off on changes to a google doc.

America must lead the world in elaborate time wasting. We really do innovate.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:14 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ummm...I wouldn't put company business on google docs.
posted by DU at 5:17 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I work in an office with two other engineers. Our rmain office is roughly 1200 miles away. Email is one of many ways we operate. Taking it away could not do positive things for our efficiency or our mood.

One of the junior engineers in the main office would rather Skype than email on code reviews. I would rather have my fingernails removed with a pair of pliers. I find it so much easier to organize my thoughts, not to mention share code snippets and really get into details, in email. And that eliminates a step in which details are lost and noise is introduced.

And yes, we use Google Docs for company business too -- especially things like schedules and task lists. It mostly works out great. It's *made* for collaborative editing.
posted by Foosnark at 5:18 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ummm...I wouldn't put company business on google docs.

And yes, we use Google Docs for company business too -- especially things like schedules and task lists. It mostly works out great. It's *made* for collaborative editing.

Everyone who has any experience with cloud collaboration thinks that you can't have the convenience and flexibility of a tool like docs without paying the privacy price. This is untrue, however, and collaborative cloud tools like it will be coming out soon.
posted by clarknova at 5:21 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ummm...I wouldn't put company business on google docs.

Not my decision. Everything has to be on google now. I mean everything, I "signed" a new anti-bribery policy and confidentiality agreement hosted on google docs.

We are the largest company ever to switch to Gmail, or were at the time we swiched. I kinda want exchange back.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:31 AM on September 6, 2012


I kinda want exchange back.

My heart aches for someone in so much pain that they say something like this.
posted by DU at 5:43 AM on September 6, 2012 [24 favorites]


I would not be lost IF I had access to my old email, even if I could not write or get new. I use it extensively for task tracking (Exchange).

At one place actually used email, rules, and public folders to design an in/out claim board system to pick up and assign tasks for use (saved me more than an hour daily once I got it set up, made it possible to expand the team globally).

If the network were down, well, my stuff is what makes the network run. If that's down we've got more problems than me having to work from my latest local backup of a checked-out SharePoint file.
posted by tilde at 5:49 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


1990. Knuth stopped using e-mail long before most people had even heard about it.

Knuth also thinks Joanna Newsom peaked with her 2003 self-released EP Yarn and Glue.
posted by griphus at 5:57 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


To quote steve lambert from his internet-blocking app SelfControl:

....the internet will come back again. In the meantime, you may find comfort in curling up in a ball under your desk and rocking back and forth for a while.

Also: to pre-empt.....Metafilter: you may find comfort in curling up in a ball under your desk and rocking back and forth for a while
posted by lalochezia at 6:06 AM on September 6, 2012


This is entirely foreign to me. The Internet is an immense productivity drain, no doubt, but e-mail? I use it for communicating with people outside the office, sending/receiving files and arranging the odd after-hours bar run. Cut it out of the equation and I'd be running to the fax machine a lot, I guess.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:19 AM on September 6, 2012


"Anyway, I got some good advice from an old boss, he said never answer email until they email you three times about the same subject, make them prove they are serious. And never answer the office phone, at way nobody can track your time spent in the office."

posted by Ad hominem

I think if I never answered my phone or email, for one I would go nuts because my phone would ring off the hook. Also their would be people backed up at my desk.
posted by Freeman Carwrap at 6:22 AM on September 6, 2012


My office is a typical cube farm where email is heavily used. I've found that email is almost used too much in that a small simple question in email could easily be answered by walking 10 feet across the hall and asking the person face to face. It's also expected that every email is read at all times and if you didn't read read the email then get ready for the "well I sent you the email saying.... didn't you get it?". If you didn't read it, then its also assumed that you don't care about keeping up to date on anything.
posted by amazingstill at 6:31 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my friends is making it "no internet september" (except for necessary things. he happens to work in web design). He said it's very hard to know what to do at first. Then he tries to think about it like when he was a kid and he had summers off, and he could do anything - but it's sooooo hard for him to break the habit. It made me ponder if I could do it.

I have gone without internet for a couple days at a time and I did fine (in the mid 00s... previously I had a hell of a time with only a few hours away, but maturity and age has made it easier to not give a shit (also, most commenters on the internet has made it easier to not give a shit)).

Actually one of the reasons he wants to unplug is to step away from all the snark and attitude that exists online. Though I told him it exists everywhere.

So crazy how the online has infested our world.
posted by symbioid at 6:34 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I got some good advice from an old boss, he said never answer email until they email you three times about the same subject, make them prove they are serious. And never answer the office phone, at way nobody can track your time spent in the office.

Wow, that wouldn't fly where I work. Then again I work with Germans.

ES MUSS SOFORT!

Easy, Fritz. Bleib geschmeidig.
posted by chillmost at 6:49 AM on September 6, 2012


"network goes down => everyone twiddles thumbs" has nothing to do with computers and everything to do with terrible sysadmin.

What nonsense.

Where I work, that happens to the majority of our group but my boss and his underlings have, over the years, extracted ourselves from the main network so we can work just fine when everyone else is borked. Our own mail server (that communicates with the "real" one), home directories on local machines, etc.

That works wonderfully until you need to communicate with anyone not using your mail server, unless you have a redundant Internet connection (coming into the other side of your building to avoid a cable cut in both places at once).
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:54 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I work as a scribe. All day long I listen to the voices in my headphones and I type what I hear. More often than not, the documents thus created are sent to customers via e-mail.

Before e-mail documents were printed and delivered as hard copies to clients. Now the clients receive editable documents from which they can print limitless hard-copies, and we save on printing and delivery costs. It has been pretty much a win-win thing for this trade.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:59 AM on September 6, 2012


You can have my email, just don't take away my IM.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:01 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've found that email is almost used too much in that a small simple question in email could easily be answered by walking 10 feet across the hall and asking the person face to face.

OK, let's see how that plays out in the real world:
To: Bob@company.com
From: Jane@company.com
Sent: March 23, 2012 11:03 am

Hi, did you want me to use last quarter's figures or this quarter's in the ABC report?

Thanks,
Jane Doe
Business Analyst
Big Company LLC

-------------------
To: Jane@company.com
From: Bob@company.com
Sent: March 23, 2012 11:05 am

Last quarter's

Bob Smith
Project Manager
Big Company LLC
Or...

Jane walks over to Bob's office [1 minute]. Bob is on the phone and he motions that the call will be done soon. Jane waits two minutes. Bob hangs up the phone. "Hi, sorry to interrupt - are you busy right now? I just have a quick question. Did you want me to use last quarter's figures or this quarter's in the report?" "Last quarter. Hey, Jane, I just thought of something. Have you talked to Natalie about the projected sales figures yet? Maybe we should set up a meeting. Let me check my calendar [1 minute]. Hang on while I call Natalie. [3 minutes]. OK, why don't you send out a request for next week." Jane walks back to her cube [1 minute], unlocks and re-logs in to her laptop [1 minute], send out meeting request [2 minutes]

Total time for email: 2 minutes max
Total time for face-to-face interaction: 12 minutes minimum

And now there's a written record, so when Bob says "why did you use last quarter's figures in this report," Jane can say, on March 23 I got an email indicating that I was supposed to use those.
posted by desjardins at 7:01 AM on September 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Trying to work without e-mail?

I find that not doing any work and sitting on my ass all day is a huge stress-relief too.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:09 AM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"network goes down => everyone twiddles thumbs" has nothing to do with computers and everything to do with terrible sysadmin.

What nonsense.


Your assertion fails when compared against the superior uptime of our group vs the larger group. We have gotten ourselves off the very items that they can't seem to keep working (mail, nfs and yp/dns servers mainly and I think most of those are running on Windows) and now when those very things fail (about once a month) we just keep working.

That works wonderfully until you need to communicate with anyone not using your mail server...

Our mail server forwards to their mail server. That's what mail servers do.

As for internet connection: We are physically embedded in the larger group. So if they screw up a switch or firewall or whatever, yes, we have a problem. We are only isolated as much as possible and to that extent have better reliability. Fortunately those more fundamental physical network issues are admin'd by more competent people.
posted by DU at 7:27 AM on September 6, 2012


Email is the catalyst violently exposing the truth of the human soul - which is that no one really actually wants to interact face to face. Because that means vulnerability: 'does this person like me? do i sound like an idiot? do i smell? oh crap is there something in my teeth? why can't i ever say anything right? is this person smarter/better looking/richer/doing better at their job than me???' ad nauseum. Given a tool that allows one to remain safely tucked in a cocoon of ego-safety, the human spirit will aggressively default to that tool permanently. Note how no one under the age of 30 uses a telephone unless forced at gun point.
posted by spicynuts at 7:53 AM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


spicynuts, I totally disagree with your reasoning. I don't use a telephone very often because most quick conversations don't need to be carried out by telephone, and the person at the other end is often annoyed.

Example 1: I need to remind my husband to pick up his drycleaning on the way home from work. I'm not going to call him; I don't know if he's in a meeting or in a car or what. So I text him.

Example 2: I'm supposed to meet mom for lunch and I'm running late. I'm going to actually see her in an hour so this does not necessitate a phone call. I text her.

Example 3: My best friend, who lives in another state, has a small child and it's impossible to have lengthy conversations on the phone with her because the child continually interrupts. After he goes to bed, she's busy studying for grad school. So we write lengthy emails back and forth when we have time to consider what we say. I also have a record to refer back to - when did she say she was going to be in Chicago again?

Example 4: I'm trying to coordinate trivia night with some friends. Instead of four phone calls asking if each person is going to be there, I just tweet at all of them, which usually turns into a group conversation about why there's so many damned questions about tennis every week.

The only person I talk to on a regular basis via telephone is my grandmother, because she enjoys hearing my voice and I'd never get her to communicate via IM or text message. (I get emails from her, but they're usually of the "Obama is a sekrit muslin!" type.)

None of these things have anything to do with my feelings of social awkwardness. I'm 37, by the way.
posted by desjardins at 8:16 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


1990. Knuth stopped using e-mail long before most people had even heard about it.

Or, in other words, before email (no hyphen!) remotely resembled what it is today.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:19 AM on September 6, 2012


Without email I couldn't display my responses to people with pictures from the internet.
posted by stormpooper at 8:22 AM on September 6, 2012


Note how no one under the age of 30 uses a telephone unless forced at gun point.

My wife and I are both over 30 and also avoid the phone like the plague. Her completely out of can't-think-on-her-feet and the fact that talking over the phone makes it even harder. Me slightly that but more because why would I want to communicate synchronously in anything other than an emergency? I'll email my question or whatever and when it's convenient for them they can get to it.

I really really REALLY hate these people that refuse to give anything other than a phone number. Like on craigslist ads. I'm always tempted to call them in the middle of the night and explain that I work graveyard. "Boy you are right, this IS easier than email!" Or setting up a play date with kids. Why does that require us to be both be non-busy and in front of our calendars at the exact same instant? Couldn't I email my half when I'm free and you email your reply when you are free? Isn't that a LOT more flexible and non-intrusive?
posted by DU at 8:22 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Our mail server forwards to their mail server. That's what mail servers do.

Not when the network goes down, but now I see you were talking about IT infrastructure as a whole, not the network.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:37 AM on September 6, 2012


And my experience with subgroups that try to roll their own IT is that they fit neatly into two groups.

The former is made up of people who actually know what they're doing. You usually don't hear from them at all unless they need something changed that's under your control, or in rare cases, because the version of Red Hat you're running is incorrectly implementing a service they invented.

The latter is made up of people who think they know what they're doing, and think they know what you should be doing, but just don't, on either count.

The latter group is generally much more vocal, and likely greater in numbers, so I'm sorry if I'm a bit jaded.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:52 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As this thread has demonstrated, too many people use tools like email in too many truly useful ways for this experiment to prove (or solve) much of anything.

"I had this crazy idea that people were addicted to email." No doubt some people are; but people get addicted to prescription drugs too, and banning all users from a drug doesn't benefit those with a legitimate need at all.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:08 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The reason our subgroup is tolerated is because we are the former. In fact, we always bypass the first level or two of local IT support and go right to the people who actually know how to do stuff in the cases where it's something we need changed that's under their control.
posted by DU at 9:08 AM on September 6, 2012


I really really REALLY hate these people that refuse to give anything other than a phone number. Like on craigslist ads.

Craigslist is a weird demographic to begin with. I am guessing a good bulk of those people don't have smartphones and want to be available instantly if you want to buy their item. I also imagine that it's a decent way to weed out spammers and non-serious folks. I was trying to give a furniture item away FOR FREE and I went back and forth, back and forth over email to a half dozen people who weren't serious about picking up the (large) item. I bet if I'd said "phone calls only," none of them would have bothered to call and it would have saved a lot of time.

That said, I'd just skip ads that required me to call them.

When we met in person, I requested the phone number of a guy I know from Twitter. By the look in his eyes, you would have thought I'd asked for his SSN and his mother's maiden name. I promised I wouldn't call him and I would only text if Twitter was down (we meet for trivia night, and I need to know if he's going and where in the restaurant he's sitting). He relaxed then and gave it to me.
posted by desjardins at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2012


How is a text message less intrusive than a phone call or a voice mail? All three can be ignored until necessay; all three require an intrusion into whatever concentration the tecipient is engaged in.
posted by spicynuts at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2012


desjardin's comment is spot-on. Email is both asynchronous and documented, which makes it tremendously useful. (Compare to f2f: synchronous, non-documented; and have you tried saving your IM history?)

It's funny how often the media reports the same story: "people don't know how to use email properly! So they just turn it off!" I wrote a book about email management a few years back and so am always irritated to see this story reported... because if you don't know how to use email, the solution isn't to turn it off, the solution is to learn how to use email.

Meantime the press keeps reporting: a French company banning email, Michael Arrington turning off email, a college professor turning off email, the TED host asking everyone to change how they write their emails, and other examples... all because people don't learn the basics about how to manage email effectively. It's not difficult.
posted by mark7570 at 9:38 AM on September 6, 2012


While I do sometimes feel like a slave to my email at work, my job largely depends upon it. I'd have to send a lot of faxes if I didn't have email.
posted by asnider at 9:41 AM on September 6, 2012


Email is great, but I want to kill the son of a bitch who invented voicemail.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:43 AM on September 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've actually started giving out just my phone number on Craigslist (or in the first email from a non-spammer), because otherwise (and this has happened a dozen times) the following exchange is most likely:

Email from them: "Is the table still available? I am interest in buying. Please text me at ##"
Me (in text): "Yes the table is available. I am home from 6pm to 8pm tonight. Please let me know when you leave and I'll give you my address.
Them (in text): "Which table are you talking about?"
Me: The georgette table with white accents.
Them: Can you text me a picture?
Me: *text a picture to jog their memory*
Them: *silence*

If I put my phone number in the ad, only spammers email me and dilettante shoppers who aren't actually going to buy the item don't waste my time.
posted by muddgirl at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2012


How is a text message less intrusive than a phone call or a voice mail?

It's less intrusive on my time.

Phone call:
"Hello?"
"Hi, how are you?"
"Good, what are you up to?"
"Actually I'm kind of busy"
"Okay, I'll keep this short, I just wanted to know if you wanted to go for dinner on Friday?"
"Ah, sure, what time?"
"I don't know, what time do you think?"
"Seven?"
"Sure! Do you want Italian or Mexican or what does Rick like?"
"Hey, I really have to go, can I call you later?"
[Next phone call is as long or longer.]


Voicemail: "hey, this is Julie, we're thinking about going out to dinner on Friday, do you want to come with? We could go to that Italian place we went to last year? Or maybe Mexican? What does Rick like again? Anyway, give me a call back!"

I call her back, and if she answers, it's a ten minute conversation before we establish the restaurant and time. If she doesn't answer, it's voicemail tag and a further intrusion. This sounds like I don't like Julie, but you're asking about intrusiveness.

Text:
"Dinner Friday? What time? Italian or Mexican or what does Rick like?"
"How about Osteria Del Mondo at 7 pm? Rick loves lasagna."
"Great, see you then! Looking forward to pictures of your new cat!"

I can answer her text in a meeting, in the bathroom, in the grocery store, on the bus, etc without disturbing anyone else. So not only is it less intrusive to me, it's less intrusive to everyone around me.

Serious conversations are reserved for face to face interaction, when I can give that person my full attention and I know that they are giving me theirs.
posted by desjardins at 11:21 AM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've found that email is almost used too much in that a small simple question in email could easily be answered by walking 10 feet across the hall and asking the person face to face.

Also, this approach isn't best for programmers, who mostly likely wouldn't prefer to be interrupt-driven. And for many other tasks, too, like writing. Disrupting a flow of concentration is a serious bummer; it takes a long time to reestablish that flow.

Email notifications aren't that much better, but at least it isn't rude to ignore the alerts/popups compared to getting surly with a visiting coworker.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2012


This is not science. There are many uncontrolled variables that come with giving someone a week off email, and the sample size is absurd.
posted by Buckt at 11:56 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Email is great. There's a reason we all adopted it. It's easy to forget that, when your email box is clogged with messages that seem trivial. But before email existed, every single one of those messages would have been:

A) A phone call to your desk (which you may or may not have been able to send to voice mail, depending on how far back you go).

B) A physical pop-in at your desk (interrupting you in a far bigger way than an email notification).

C) A fax that ate up expensive paper and ink, or (going back farther) curly thermal paper.

The problem isn't email. The problem is that people are constantly trying to talk to you. They will use whatever means they have at hand to do so. Frankly, email is a real improvement over most of those methods.
posted by ErikaB at 12:04 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can answer her text in a meeting, in the bathroom, in the grocery store, on the bus, etc without disturbing anyone else. So not only is it less intrusive to me, it's less intrusive to everyone around me.

I fully agree, as long as that "etc" doesn't include "in the movie theatre." If it does, you deserve a special place in hell.
posted by asnider at 12:18 PM on September 6, 2012


Oh, don't worry, I put the smackdown on people who do that.
posted by desjardins at 1:46 PM on September 6, 2012


I'd love to be able to unplug but that's not an option with my job. What can we do for people in industries like the one I work in who are expected to be online and responsive as close to 24/7 as possible?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:50 PM on September 6, 2012


The reason our subgroup is tolerated is because we are the former. In fact, we always bypass the first level or two of local IT support and go right to the people who actually know how to do stuff in the cases where it's something we need changed that's under their control.

I'm used to there not always being more than two levels of support, so the first level has to be, and is, more competent than your typical first-tier tech support.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:00 PM on September 6, 2012


My office is a typical cube farm where email is heavily used. I've found that email is almost used too much in that a small simple question in email could easily be answered by walking 10 feet across the hall and asking the person face to face. It's also expected that every email is read at all times and if you didn't read read the email then get ready for the "well I sent you the email saying.... didn't you get it?". If you didn't read it, then its also assumed that you don't care about keeping up to date on anything.

See, that is one benefit to having a buggy work email system that even after a complete overhaul with a new IT company doesn't always correctly route email and keeps getting graylisted for some unknown reason - the default assumption, at least among coworkers, can no longer be that if you didn't read it, you don't care.

Still, people on the outside sometimes insist upon assuming things like that. I had this great moment last week, when we were in full-on crunch mode on a couple different projects, that felt like a victory against the tyranny of email, or a teachable moment of some sort. (God, I hope this guy learned something from this.)

I'd been mostly away from the computer for several hours, at the opposite end of my desk, trying to read a proof of a book as fast as humanly possible. I'd last checked my email maybe 45 minutes earlier, but since I was at my computer briefly to look up the spelling of something, I figured I'd check it again. Nothing urgent...but there was one from a coworker in a different department. Hm.

I opened it, skimmed it, and kind of gasped and chuckled at once. I reread it to be sure I was reading it right. Yep. My coworker had forwarded an email from a client (a PR person) who claimed that I had deleted his email about an event coming up in a few days without reading it, then asked whether there were an alternate way to get his pitch considered, someone else to talk to, etc.

I blinked. The client is always right, but this was really pushing it. Even if I had deleted this guy's email - which was possible, as I delete a lot of solicitation spam - I couldn't believe someone would jump straight from pitching an event, effectively asking me for a favor, to accusing me of ignoring him. And now that I thought about it, I didn't remember having seen any email from this guy. I was still on deadline, but this piqued my curiosity. Had I really messed up, or had our email system sent it to some spam purgatory?

Well, none of the above. For expediency, I searched my email...and there it was, in my inbox, time-stamped 45 minutes prior. This guy had sent his email right after I'd last stepped away from my desk, and it had been sitting in my inbox since then while I worked on an urgent project. Yet this dude's expectations had become so warped, and his email-tracking software was so histrionic, that after 45 minutes he thought it was appropriate to act as if I'd slighted him and try to work around me, all to get a reply about an event that wasn't even happening for several days.

I felt such satisfaction emailing back a perfectly polite but pointed email detailing exactly what happened and asking that my coworker please let the client know why his email had gone unread for 45 minutes. I never heard back from the PR guy after that.
posted by limeonaire at 6:06 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, I get more than 300 emails a day, some vital, some not, some sent at ridiculous times and days of the week that entice you to read them in case it's something important. Nearly the entire workforce operates remotely, so that's part of it. Some of it seems to be because the headquarters people believe everything they find to be just AWESOME! needs to be shared with everyone else. At one time, we banned people from emailing others after 7 p.m., unless it was an emergency and that's helped out. But now the HQ people send out emails throughout the weekend, some pertaining to things that need to be tackled first thing Monday, so mid-level managers, at least, need to check them for the latest demands.
We could not operate without email. But I'd like to see a fine imposed on staff morons who send without examining its value.
posted by etaoin at 6:17 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins: "Text:
"Dinner Friday? What time? Italian or Mexican or what does Rick like?"
"How about Osteria Del Mondo at 7 pm? Rick loves lasagna."
"Great, see you then! Looking forward to pictures of your new cat!"
"
------------


FUTURETEXT:
"DinFri;Time? WutEat;Rick<3?"
"OstDelMon@7? R<3 Laz"
"GRT CYA. KITTEHPIX <3"
posted by symbioid at 6:30 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mother has an iPhone and her texts are frequently like "I'm going 2 store 4 milk do u want anything?" It baffles me since typing numbers is actually more work than just typing "to" and "four." I've explained that she is not charged per character. She's very well read, and her emails are perfect, but her texts drive me up a wall.
posted by desjardins at 9:38 PM on September 6, 2012


> Note how no one under the age of 30 uses a telephone unless forced at gun point.

Or, like, it's their job.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 PM on September 6, 2012


No one else speaking up in favor of synchronus communications? No one else as impatient as I am? When I have a questions, dammit, I want instant answers, and the opportunity for follow up questions, and instant answers to those. Also a phone call means I actually get your attention, whereas e-mails are so easily ignored, half the time a hard question doesn't get an answer at all.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:42 AM on September 7, 2012


Also a phone call means I actually get your attention, whereas e-mails are so easily ignored, half the time a hard question doesn't get an answer at all.

Especially since there are some people who won't respond to my email unless I send it three times. I don't have time to play that game. If you haven't responded two days later, expect my phone call.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 10:23 AM on September 7, 2012


Jokes on you - we let the phone go to voicemail. Your sense of importance does not override my need for lack of social contact. LOL. If it is urgent, and you ring multiple times we will pick up. If we're expecting you to call to set up plans, we'll pick up. But if you're going to just talk,and we're not in the mood, then we aren't obligated to pick up right then and there anymore than we are to drop everything and email right then and there.

Then again, I try to reply to emails shortly after I receive them if I can, or within 24 hours.
posted by symbioid at 12:55 PM on September 8, 2012


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