I read an article today about the “tyranny” of email. It made me think about how much e-mail has really impacted the way people communicate. I remember when our mail servers crashed in 1999 and people were absolutely frantic because they couldn’t communicate. I remember telling my boss “You do have a telephone” but the truth is that nobody is ever at their desks these days. The people I need to contact are often only available via laptops or cell phones, and so email is a way of life. The programmers that I work with are only a few doors away from my office, and yet I have caught myself composing an email to schedule a meeting or distribute information. Most of the time, I stop myself and slap my face a few times before walking down the hall to the person’s office and meeting face-to-face. Computer people are too impersonal as it is… why make it worse? Furthermore, I fear that we may be making otherwise outgoing people more intraverted.
I still email people who are in the same room or same hallway, but usually it’s to send them a link to my current project or to send a document. However, I am the recipient of many emails asking simple questions, and my common reply is “come see me.”
Besides, we all need to get up from our monitors now and then.