Sunday, November 22, 2009

When is email the wrong method?

We are tied to email because it is so easy and routine we send email rather than considering that there are better ways.

Using email for all communications is like using a rotary dial phone. It still works to make phone calls, but not all calls. We all know that rotary dial phones will not work on any automated system and eventually they became extinct.

How do you know email is the wrong method?

  • You are sending a large attachment, particularly if you are sending it to several people.
  • You are sending information that needs to kept for future reference.
  • You are sharing a web page by placing the contents into the body of the message.
  • You have converted web information into a pdf and attached the pdf. 
  • You are sending information that needs to be discussed.
  • You are sending information that needs to be edited, crafted and developed.
  • You have a quick question to one person.
  • You are giving your professional opinion.
  • You are sending a video or photo.

What are better methods?

  • Organization-based shared file systems (Shared drives, Sharepoint document libraries)
  • Wikis
  • Google Docs
  • Google Wave
  • Instant Messaging
  • Text SMS Messaging
  • Twitter
  • Social bookmarking (i.e., Delicious)
  • Google Reader
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogging
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • SmugMug

What do advantages do these other methods have over email?

  • Fewer resources are being used.
  • More opportunities for open sharing.
  • More efficiency.
  • More opportunities and ease of use for collaboration.
  • Having information in one place, not distributed into several email boxes.
  • Searching within an organization-system or in the open web.
  • Having the ability to tag the information in your own words.
  • Having the information and products available to everyone for easy sharing and access.

If you are leading a group, a committee, a unit, a department, or an organization, stop the madness. Continuing using email for reasons it was not developed for is like continuing using a rotary phone.

Photo:  squircle old phone Originally uploaded by zen Tags: ,

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