One of the things I find interesting when I have conversations about the potential business impact of social technologies is the business person who says something like, "I have too much information coming at me right now. And besides, we already have a way for people to connect together and it works perfectly well and it's called email."
It seems to me that email mostly gets a free pass when it comes to productivity and whether it actually performs the purposes for which it was originally intended.
I decided to take a look at my own email stats for the past three business days to get an idea of how "productive" email is. Keep in mind that I have tried over the past year or so to move as much as possible OFF of email (e.g., email newsletters and the like), but some continues to creep in.
Here is my data...
We started out with email years ago as a better vehicle to connect with people inside our organizations. Well, that's 27% of my email flow. Looking at the content of the emails, I can guarantee that 99.9% of this would be MUCH more useful if served through activity updates and threaded statuses and comments upon same, with documents linked as need.
We then viewed email it as a vehicle to connect with individuals in the outside world.
Well, 46% is crap right off the bat (but I still need to review it periodically to make sure nothing real has sneaked through) - and get depressed about the state of the world every time I have to wade through this junk.
Another good use of email was as a way to stay updated with news and information from organizations. Enter the era of eNls and updates. Looking at my 21% of "stuff," I can tell you I barely look at this. I now get most of the information that is of any use from RSS feeds (less and less) and from Twitter and Facebook (more and more). The only thing that is keeping this "stuff" in my inbox is the slipperiness of the providers and my own laziness to unsubscribe.
So that leaves the 6% of my inbox which is real email about real things from real people in the outside world and my replies to same and my own outreach.
Really? Remind me again why I need this?
How about you?
An invitation to come to one of our upcoming seminars -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyx9ZXbn2Nk