A bailout plan for the digitally desperate

Bankruptcy results from not enough available money. E-mail bankruptcy, on the other hand, results from too much e-mail.

E-mail bankruptcy usually involves deleting all e-mail and restarting with an empty inbox. Some of the more courteous bankruptcy declarers send out a message (via e-mail, of course) announcing their digital communications reboot. I suppose you have to be heavily invested in the e-mail market before your e-mail bankruptcy really affects many people.

I know some e-mail users who have already adopted a strategy of deleting any incoming messages that would require extra personal thought or effort. These are the same people who rarely answer the phone or return phone messages. If you are one of these out-of-sight, out-of-mind types, you can’t declare e-mail bankruptcy because you don’t have enough e-mail assets.

bankruptI invest a lot of time into reading, sorting and responding to e-mail. Sometimes it seems like this is the most time-consuming (but necessary) part of my job. Is this compulsive behavior or the evolving culture of 21st-century white-collar labor?

Many years ago, my original fascination with e-mail was its immediacy, especially compared to snail mail. Ironically, in today’s world of instant gratification through media, e-mail isn’t instant enough compared to IM and Twitter. With IM and Twitter, though, one can simply log out permanently instead of declaring some sort of bankruptcy.

Financier Fred Wilson tops a list of high-profile figures to declare e-mail bankruptcy. Wired magazine began reporting on e-mail bankruptcy back in 2004.

For most of us common folk, declaring e-mail bankruptcy would send a message to others that we have poor organizational skills, much like a financial bankruptcy suggests poor money management. We may sometimes feel swamped by the volume of e-mail we receive, but many of us still prefer e-mail because it lets us respond on our own schedule.

THE VERDICT: STAY PLUGGED IN — Seek computer counseling if necessary, but don’t go to the extreme by getting a divorce from your e-mail account.


~ by dbozmedia on November 8, 2008.

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