The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Too much social (even with #noemail )? NYTimes asks in Style

First this and other postings over the past year in the NYTimes Style section about the digital interface with life or somesuch show that social media has grown from technology and business into social phenomena worthy of sharing the page with essays on skirt length, fall colors, weddings and the like. I don’t mean this to be snide, but to underscore what Barry Wellman asserted — most strongly in the title of “The Internet and Everyday Life” — that the digital is life as we know it and not separate from the other parts of our lives but deeply intertwined.

But rushing ahead from that, “For the Plugged-In, Too Many Choices” describes the chaotic world of choices for digitally enable social interaction or as the URL says: Digitally Fatigues Networkers Try New Sites But Strategize To Avoid Burnout (.html).

Varieties of managing multiple networks and setting priorities are mentioned through anecdotes and vignettes including considering talking to your dinner partner rather than posting that you are at dinner on FourSquare. The particularly heinous habit of queuing up postings for timed release throughout the day is suggested!

One bright spot is yet another testimony for Fred Stutzman‘s wonderful Freedom which takes you off the net (only for laptops and desktops but not for phone or tablet) for up to 8 hours.

What does this have to do with #noemail? Just look at how email is mentioned in this article:

According to Nielsen, social networking is now the most popular online activity, ahead of sending e-mails, searching the Internet and playing games.

“I already feel like I’m experiencing slow death by e-mail.”

“Everyone is still talking about filing e-mail bankruptcy”

The only thing worse than social overload is… email.


  1. The more I read, the more I understand “no email” to mean “I hate Outlook”.

    What do I like in eCommunications? Reasonably quick delivery.
    What do I dislike in eCommunications? Unreasonable expectations for a quick response.

    What I don’t like in email (I mean: SMTP over the Internet), and which is more prevalent on that medium, is SPAM. There are several ways of controlling that. I use a combo of CMUSieve and SpamAssassin. Takes the bulk off of that. The “Susan” service mentioned above would probably be good too.

    What I don’t like in alternatives is that they are even more taxing than significant SMTP-over-the-Internet in terms of demands for immediate response (what does “IM” mean after all?). I read my eMail as I read physical mail – once a day. My antispam arrangements have filtered most of the nonsense and organized a lot of the rest. They can because the eMail message is handled by my own box, which can then classify, etc. – I just have to “tell” it once.

    All the other choices boil down to wishing that the good old days of 3270 terminals be back.

  2. Paul

    9/28/2011 at 9:43 am

    I’ve never used Outlook so I cannot evaluate it.

    As you will see as you read other postings on this blog, I”m not completely averse to fast communications, rapid responses or even slower delivery through some channels. I just think and know that there are better options — faster, more interactive, more collaborative, more mobile and easier to slice, dice, and manage.

    I have used 3270 terminals and I have even written the email interfaces for those terminals (TSO and WYLBUR based UCLA-mail in the 80s), but I have no nostalgia for those times. That was merely the best we had then, But that was then and this is now. We have many many choices that assist and enhance our communications streams. Of those email is the worst.

    Peace out

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