walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

A Few More Remarks on _The Tyranny of E-mail_

Having slept on it, and having gone through _another_ three drafts, I think I have a final two paragraphs to say about That Book.

(1) Email is not appreciably different from, certainly not worse than, other communication proxies. It is less intrusive than a knock on the door or a phone call. It is about as intrusive as a letter or a direct-to-voice-mail or a fax or a post to a shared, private forum. Whatever problems you have managing your volume of e-mail are not a result of mechanization _per se_, much less a sinister man-machine interface. There might be some problems in terms of the details of the interface and filtering technologies available. If you feel like a more mechanized interface is somehow impossible to ignore or evade or say no to because it has invaded you/your brain/your whatever, that's a sign you need a change of perspective.

(2) While you might need a change of perspective, you should not tell yourself and other people a long, involved, inaccurate and structure-free story covering 4000 years in a hundred plus pages, dragging everything from agriculture to the Eisenhower administrations highway plan to Madonna's marriage to Guy Ritchie into it and making uncalled for snarky remarks about someone's parenting choices. You should _never_ do this, but doing it to explain, or justify, or whatever sending less e-mail, spending more uninterrupted alone time and assembling a very rudimentary time management system just makes you look diagnosable. It's like setting off a nuclear weapon to kill a cockroach. The cockroach probably survives, and there's all this fallout, too.
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