People have suggested many reasons why one should or should not use email or #noemail. Like most technology, there are four factors interacting that cannot be isolated from each other but that can really make the choices difficult or simple.


Many of my IT pals would like to fix email through some technical changes (they see these are improvements) aimed at changing misuses of email — shortmail and and even Gmail are promising examples of technology modifications for email. They say mail filters are the answer. etc.

Some people just love email. It means something deep to them. Others just don’t like change. They have something that they are very comfortable with and won’t want to learn anything else. One friend said: I still love Pine — for example. It works the other way too: “Paul is always just trying something new and shiny.”

Where my friends, business, etc are is where I want to be. The social is very strong. Not just about being social but how our social circles define themselves. Examples: I won’t have a Blackberry because that’s for suits. I’m in open source so I need an Android phone. My band and my fans are all still on MySpace; we’ll never leave. Only dorks use [whatever]. All the cool kids are on Google +.

Politics and law are also exert a very strong influence on how tools are used and preceived as in: My boss insists that we all use [whatever system]. We can’t use Facebook at work; the IT folks blocked it because of company policy. HIPPA requires that we keep records this way. Isn’t there a state law about that? I travel to Iran and that software won’t work there.

I summarize:

  1. Technological – the tool part of being a tool including function and interface
  2. Psychological – your attitude, perceptions and use needs etc. you are part of the tool and it’s part of you
  3. Social – how your friends, colleagues, etc see and use the tool in a social and cultural context.
  4. Political – you must or must not use this tool or you may only use this tool for [whatever]