Email is useless

At work I write incredible emails.  They describe situations that I observed at the plant.

They are structured akin to a highschool essay:

  • Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell them
  • Then tell them
  • Then tell ‘em what you told them.

I brief them on the problem under discussion.

I present the evidence of the problem, it’s relationship to other factors in the plant, similar problems we’ve dealt with in the past, sometimes including references to plant procedures and technical manuals, and my recommended course of action.

Then I repeat my recommendation with a list of the benefits of doing it my way.

Evidence based and witty with intellectual respect and humility.  I may not be a genius, but I write a hell of an email.

I used to get praised and pats on the back.  Recently though the responses have fallen off.  I’ve written an insightful email regarding ongoing problems to people that should care about those problems and gotten back nothing… and I think I figured out why.

Smart-phones.

It used to be that when I sent out an email people would read it at their desk and write a quick thankyou acknowledging my work.  They’d be able to check reference materials and pull up trends and confirm my work, or argue against it.  Now they get the email and they’re driving.  Or eating lunch.  Or walking the plant.  They pull it out and think to themselves that most offensive of internet acronyms “TLDR”.  Too Long, Didn’t Read.  So they skim it, and think they’ll respond later.  But when they’re at their desks the email shows read and they don’t ever open it again.  Then, a week or 2 later they see it as clutter in their inbox and it gets deleted without anyone ever paying any real attention to it.

Of course they all think I’m a luddite for having my Dumb-phone.  They write me an email and I’m off shift and don’t get it for 3 days and I look like an asshole.

Other ways that email is useless:

  • Too much spam resulting in the account being ignored.  (I’m guilty of this)
  • Spam filters that are too strong and legitimate emails never getting read
  • People changing their email address with their jobs and effectively having no permanent way to contact them.
  • It’s not Spam if it’s somebody you know, but it’s basically the same thing when they forward you every political/humorous/inspirational/chain-mail that they get.
  • People whose sole purpose in owning an email account is to use as a login for social networking sites.  (I’m kind of guilty of this since 1 already made me give up on my email account)
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