January 9, 2016

“There was no monitor.”

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 9:14 am

The Triumph of Email: Why does one of the world’s most reviled technologies keep winning?

In the mobile Internet age, checking email is simultaneously a nervous tic and, for many workers, a tether to the office. A person’s email inbox is where forgotten passwords are revived; where mass-mailings are collected; and where pumpkin-pie recipes, toddler photos, and absurd one-liners are shared. The inbox, then, is a place of convergence: for junk, for work, for advertising, and still sometimes for informal, intimate correspondence. Email works just the way it’s supposed to, and better than it used to, but people seem to hate it more than ever.

Over the course of about half a century, email went from being obscure and specialized, to mega-popular and beloved, to derided and barely tolerated. With email’s reputation now cratering, service providers offer tools to help you hit “inbox zero,” while startups promise to kill email altogether. It’s even become fashionable in tech circles to brag about how little a person uses email anymore.

I don’t hate email. Never did. I love email. I can communicate with someone who’s not right there and can compose thoughtful responses (or not, I suppose) instead of having to respond right now on the phone. I can send said communication to the other side of the planet nearly instantaneously. I can send files with it so we’re talking about the same thing.

Email is wonderful.

It’s abused, obviously — what isn’t? — but I’ve managed to keep at least my main email relatively free from spam. And it takes a bit more thought to create words that mean what you’re really trying to convey; it’s not just typing what you’re thinking (or shouldn’t be, most of the time). But it still rocks.

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