The possible uselessness of email

My wife’s grandmother commented the other day that since her computer got fried in a lightening storm, she hasn’t been able to check her email. And that storm happened in August.

It got me thinking about how easily email can become useless as a form of communication for some people. This storm gave her no time to warn people that she might not be able to receive email for awhile, and so in all probability, anyone who has sent her an email recently has no idea that she’s not getting them. Thus, this form of communication could even be destructive in some ways, as people think she’s getting information they are sending her and will expect her to act on this information in some way. While anything sent to her via email probably isn’t critical news, its still interesting how this form of communication can lead to the wrong assumption that your transmissions are actually being pickuped.

Like an answering machine: I could leave messages all day long (or until the machine is filled up) but if you’re not there to push the button, you won’t here a word of it. Yet, I would still expect you to have received my communication soon after I sent it.

The problem with this form of information transfer is that there is no confirmation that your information has indeed been received and understood by its intended target. We know if we sent the email, or voice mail to the right place, but we really have no idea if anyone is checking that particular place.

I guess what I’m saying here, is call people who are too lazy / busy to check their email, and don’t leave a message.
This post is boring but I have another one coming that’s even worse!


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