The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Date: 7/8/2011

Horses in a Time of Cars; Email in a Time of #noemail

I’m quoted about #noemail at in the Triangle Business Journal. The article by Olivia Barrow talks about “[College and University – pj] Administrators embracing social media to reach out.” As you’ll see, I try to push the idea of interactivity rather than broadcast and of social media over email. No surprised here. I wish I could read the article but it requires a subscription and is mostly behind a paywall.

In case you have a subscription or would like to start one here’s the link to the article.

A friend sends this snipet:

Paul Jones, a UNC journalism professor, says that although many university departments use social media, they do not put a lot of energy into having interactions with their audiences.
“The real question about whether it’s social or not is whether there’s any interaction that happens, either with them or as a result of what you put out,” Jones says.
For Jones, who wrote the code for UNC’s email service [more correctly good parts of good parts of some email services – pj], social media is the next step in the evolution of communication.
“I think university email has been obsolete,” he says. Jones no longer communicates via email. Send him an email, and an automatic reply will point you to 14 different social media sites as ways to get in touch with him.
“Tech has moved on,” he says. “It’s like horses — this is a world better built for cars. This is a world that works much better for other varieties of social interaction.”

Joy of HangOut & #noemail on TV & Google+Facebook+Twitter

Middle thing first, my colleague Barbara Wildemuth and myself spoke separately to WRAL-TV’s Brian Schrader aka @wraltraffic for a story about #noemail. Barbara only likes to use email and then only from her office and only during work hours. She has strong self-discipline and no smart phone. Me? Always with the iPhone. My self-discipline? Not so much.

Brian and his pal shot the footage on June 30 with Google + only a few hours old. So a lot has changed in the #noemail space since then — Facebook’s *awesome* announcement (see below) and my own better understanding of Google + for starters.

Speaking of those changes in the #noemail space. Google+ Hangouts are wonderful. I’ve had several very good experiences with Hangouts and several abortive attempts at Facebook+Skype. Hangouts most always work seamlessly.

In one three-way video chat, Howard Rheingold was sitting in his garden in Mill Valley, CA, Dan Gillmor was riding down the New York Expressway online from his G3 phone tethered to his laptop and I was here in my office in Chapel Hill. We did experience some stalls and stutters from Dan’s stream, but overall the quality of the video and of the content was excellent.

Twice, I’ve been disappointed by Facebook Video. Lilyn Hester and I had absolutely no problem doing a HangOut, sharing video from YouTube, etc. But when we tried Facebook Video Chat each of our sessions dropped the camera of the other causing us to restart the sessions and get mostly nowhere.

In another session with someone else, the Facebook+Skype software was tossed in her anti-virus sandbox. Confusion ensued. This was with a very experienced native app Skype user.

HangOut also allowed me to meet with Luis Suarez aka @elsua who has the #noemail lead with nearly four years of ignoring email and using social media instead. Luis’ Living in a World Without Email project #lwwe has been an inspiration and a guide to me. Luis was in Spain and I sadly still here in Chapel Hill.


I was able to alert Luis to two sick, in a cool way, browser extensions for Google +, Google+Facebook and Google+ Tweet. As you might guess from the names, each adds the activity stream from the respective service as a tab on your G+ tool bar (across the top). You could do something similar with browser tabs, but it’s nice to have everything right there in a single window.

Christy Schoon of Newsgator describes how that company celebrates #NoEmail on #SocialFridays in her Driving Adoption for Social Computing Technology: Kill Your Email. There’s a PR tone to the article but it contains several helpful hints on how a company can encourage the use of social media across the enterprise. As @elsua and I said laughingly during our Hangout, #SocialFridays are the gateway to #noemail and the gateway out of Email Hell.

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