The End of E-Mail As You Know It

My emotions caught me as I read Keven Werbach’s excellent piece on Slate this morning.

Spam is killing e-mail […]

Emotional because e-mail is the best way to get ahold of me. It’s the best way for me to work with my clients, communicate with friends and frankly, stay in touch with my geographically disparate family. It’s not that we hide behind the veil of e-mail. Honestly, I’m in touch with more people as a result of email than if I had to resort to the telephone. All for obvious reasons.

It also opens the door for new relationships, collaborations and knowledge sharing.

[…] the tool that lets a stranger respond to something you posted on your Web site or that lets a potential client contact you after reading an article you wrote […]

I’m one of those trusting individuals who rarely locks his car, never locks the house when he’s inside and looks into the eyes of people I pass on the street. I’m not comfortable with this concept of locking things. Remember that great line in the song “Signs”?

“And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on site.

So I jumped over the fence and yelled at the house, what gives you the right?

To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in.

If god were here he tell it to your face, man is some kind of sinner.”

If Werbach’s prophecy has a tinge of truth in it, and I’m afraid I believe it does, we’re about to lock our email boxes. Lock ourselves in and lock others out. All in the name of Spam. Today I stopped counting at 41 spam mails cluttering my inbox. Thanks to the great junk mail filter in Mac OS X’s, it’s getting easier to glaze over it. But what is it missing? What am I missing?

[…] Because e-mail inboxes are open to anyone, longtime Internet users now receive hundreds of spams per day, making e-mail virtually unusable without countermeasures. […]

Remember those silly petitions that were floating on the internet a few years back. Calling for us to stand up for our rights for free email. That congress was considering enacting legislation to charge for email? Hogwash.

I had the perfect response for these friends who were temporarily spamming me with such nonsense: I said there’s no way I’ll sign or forward this on. In fact, I rebutted, I think that each email should cost something. It would filter down the useless “What are you doing for lunch?” from the co-worker in the next cube and these silly internet viruses and other hoaxes. Oh and yeah. It would put the spammers in their place.

Read the article. It’s eye opening. And there’s a great discussion about it on SlashDot as well as one here.