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Is Email Making You Useless? An Argument for 'Opt-In' Protocol

Oscar Berg takes issue with the way email organizes information and puts the burden on the recipient.

Sure, we need and love email, but I read an interesting post today that, among other things, describes email as virus-like. Author Oscar Berg takes issue with the way email organizes information and puts the burden on the recipient. It's true—when I have a million things in my inbox, I do feel awfully burdened sometimes.


Berg writes about a better way—an opt-in culture:

In an opt-in culture, each and everyone can choose which conversations they want to participate in and contribute to – which most likely will be the ones where they can add most value and which they enjoy participating in. It implies that conversations are open by default and hosted on open platforms. If this is combined with ways of communicating where the sender applies the structure to the communication so that the recipients don’t have to, huge amounts of waste can be eliminated and people can use the time and energy that is freed for value-adding activities and seeking out situations where they can add value with their expertise.

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I've written on ways to optimize your inbox before, but Berg would have us all avoid a lot of the work I advocate by simply not receiving as much email—by having working teams hold discussions, for example, on a team blog. Check it when it's time to work in that context. When it's not time to work in that context, it's not a part of your (smaller) organizational clutter.

Whew, that sounds nice, doesn't it? Or does it? Let me know!

Image (cc) flickr user husin.sani

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