Email Overload? Forget the Junkie, Consider the “Pusher”

By BroadVision on July 21, 2010

Because of the topic — and because I am so busy — I will make this post brief.

There’s an interesting article in Information Week, citing a study that shows that people feel overwhelmed when they have more than 50 emails in their in-box.

This used to be a problem for a small class of people — information junkies who couldn’t understand why they got so much email every single day.  Now it’s a problem for most of the working population.  But the problem, I suspect, results from the same cause today as it did years ago.  It’s not the information junkie in each of us that’s creating the problem.  It’s the information pusher.  And you, my friend, are very likely a pusher.

Consider — how often do you use email when:

–a quick phone call would have done the trick?

–IM might have been more effective?

–a ping to your social network would have been faster, smarter, more responsive?

Of course, there are issues with each of the above.  Sometimes, the phone feels too much like a burden (for the caller and the call-e).  And not everyone is on IM or social networks.  In the end, email overload might owe a lot to the simple fact that it has such a wonderful user experience that we cannot help but use it, even when it’s not appropriate.  That’s an interesting challenge to the vendors of communication tools, and we should expect more innovation from them.  In the meantime, to get less email, try sending less email.  And when you get the results, call me.  I use BT/Ribbit, which will transcribe and forward your voicemail to me in text.  As I said, the phone can be a burden.  But put a nicer UI/UE on top of the phone, and the whole thing feels so much better.