Sloppy advice about drowning in email

Chris Anderson

Have you heard about the Email Charter? It's a series of rules to help people use email more efficiently, and not allow it to become our master. However, while it's a laudable goal, there are several things wrong with it. I've been researching, engineering, and project-managing email systems since 1985, so here's my opinion, in The Long View...

In case you've not seen it yet, TED's "curator" Chris Anderson and his "scribe" Jane Wulf spent the summer putting together a Charter for the use of email. Chris and Jane are the latest in a long line of luminaries who've pointed out that email -- as it's often used -- is broken. Anderson and Wulf argue that, while email is a powerful force for good, "We're drowning in it," and "Every year it gets...worse." Their premise seems to be that the very act of managing our incoming email is soaking up "most" of our time. Here are the highlights of their ideas -- some are right-on, but other seem barking mad to me. For example, the crazy advice intended to reduce unnecessary work that actually increases the amount of work. Or the kumbaya aspects that simply ignore the fact that deadlines are a fact of life in business.

Read on...

Chris and Jane liken to the situation to a Hardin-style tragedy of the commons. Arguably that's a touch hyperbolic, but let's not ignore what they have to say, simply because they're trying to get our attention. Here are the highlights...

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