#email

Simon Kuper for FT Magazine:

Email kicked off an unprecedented expansion in writing. We’re now in the most literate age in history. I remember in 2003 asking someone, “What’s a blog?” By 2006, the analysis firm NM Incite had identified 36 million blogs worldwide; five years later, there were 173 million. Use of online social media rises every month. In fact, writing is overtaking speech as the most common form of interaction.

So there is something good that has come out of email?

[via Felix Salmon]

bryan
bryan:


UPDATE: Cool, Mailbox’s CEO agrees.
My biggest gripe with Mailbox thus far is that the default snooze options, which I generally love, do not change based on the time or day of the week, which can lead to some ambiguous situations. Around 9PM last night I wanted to merely delay an email by a couple of hours. “Later today” actually deferred the email to a little after midnight but “This Evening” deferred until 6PM the next day. Similarly, “This Weekend” and “Next Week” also seem a bit too ambiguous when it’s currently Sunday night. I really think that contextually tweaking the available options as well as some of the language could go a long way towards improving this already great feature.
I’ve been using Mailbox for a few weeks now and very much enjoy it. When I first installed it I started a list all of the things I didn’t like, but almost all of my complaints went away the more I bought into the way that Mailbox is intended to be used. The only ones that really remain (aside from the snoozing behavior described above) are the lack of an iPad or desktop equivalent, and the lack of cloud search (which is coming). I also wish that their push notifications included the first line of the message body but I know this is an iOS limitation and not their fault.


Also agree with all of this. I often go to hit one of those snoozes and have to think about it for a second. I shouldn’t have to think at all.

bryan:

UPDATE: Cool, Mailbox’s CEO agrees.

My biggest gripe with Mailbox thus far is that the default snooze options, which I generally love, do not change based on the time or day of the week, which can lead to some ambiguous situations. Around 9PM last night I wanted to merely delay an email by a couple of hours. “Later today” actually deferred the email to a little after midnight but “This Evening” deferred until 6PM the next day. Similarly, “This Weekend” and “Next Week” also seem a bit too ambiguous when it’s currently Sunday night. I really think that contextually tweaking the available options as well as some of the language could go a long way towards improving this already great feature.

I’ve been using Mailbox for a few weeks now and very much enjoy it. When I first installed it I started a list all of the things I didn’t like, but almost all of my complaints went away the more I bought into the way that Mailbox is intended to be used. The only ones that really remain (aside from the snoozing behavior described above) are the lack of an iPad or desktop equivalent, and the lack of cloud search (which is coming). I also wish that their push notifications included the first line of the message body but I know this is an iOS limitation and not their fault.

Also agree with all of this. I often go to hit one of those snoozes and have to think about it for a second. I shouldn’t have to think at all.

Over the past several months, by far the number one question I’ve gotten asked is if I can get people access to Mailbox and/or when is it coming out…

Well, the answer is really soon now. Today, the team rolled out a smart reservation system to make sure they can gracefully launch the service to the hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — who are undoubtedly going to want it ASAP.

Unfortunately, this system means that some will have to wait longer than others. But at least there will be some transparency in the process: with Mailbox’s reservation system, you’ll be able to see exactly where you are in line to get the app — both the number of people in front of you and behind you.

Once again, trust me, it will be worth the wait. And yes, the app will be free.

courtenaybird

So we know that the average worker spends 13 hours a week — 28 percent of office time — on email. Which multiplies out to (eek) 650 hours a year.

But what does that time investment look like as physical — well, “physical” — output? How does it amass as words typed and sent and otherwise generated? Here’s one estimate: 41,638 words.

To put those 41,638 discrete pieces of communication in perspective, that word count, in the aggregate, is roughly equivalent to a novel that is 166 pages in length…. slightly greater than The Old Man and the Sea (127 pages long), slightly less than The Great Gatsby (182 pages), and just about equal to The Turn of the Screw (165 pages).

So many wasted words.

Abdel Ibrahim of The Tech Block interviews Gentry Underwood of Mailbox:

No technology ever dies completely, so in some senses it’s easy to promise that email will stick around. But more to the point, email is a “we” technology. You or I don’t decide to use it – “we” do. You may attempt to quit checking email, but you’ll still be receiving them. Sooner or later you’ll likely cave in and start checking it again (perhaps after one-too-many missed invitations, etc.). If we’re going to stop using email we’re going to have to all decide to do that at the same time, and that’s a big, big thing to ask.

I really cannot wait to see what happens when everyone starts using Mailbox in a few weeks. It has changed my work life dramatically for the better. It’s a true revelation.

Back in August, I wrote a post teasing Mailbox, the new app from the team behind Orchestra. Today, they’re ready to reveal a bit more. The video above offers a taste, but I’ll have more thoughts to share later on.

Put simply: this is the most excited I’ve been about an app in a long time. I’ve been testing it out for a few weeks now and it’s already the app I use most often. I say this, of course, as a happy investor, but I shit you not: if you hate email, you’re going to love this app when it comes out in a few weeks. It’s fucking amazing.

Nice(r). I’d still love to see an option for no subject — just who you’re sending it and what you’re sending. Or maybe even no body and just a subject line, actually. Reduce the clicks/tabs.

We’re getting closer to the “Gmail Lite" that I’ve long dreamed about. But Gmail is still nowhere near fast enough. I’m not sure it ever will be unless they do a native app. I do almost all my email now on the iPad.

Is email really 30 years old? Nope. It’s more like 47 years old. Technology historian Thomas Haigh sets the record state in an email to David Pogue:

Email, or electronic mail, is actually at least 40 years old, and the NY Times itself has documented its use in 1965 (47 years ago). Hence, collecting endorsements for the “30 year anniversary” claim, i.e. 1982 as the origin date for email, is an key strategy for Ayyadurai.

47 years old. This is a channel we all still use to communicate.

Interesting post by Y Combinator partner Harj Taggar. Rather than fully quitting email, he simply removed it from his phone. This meant he could *only* check it when he was at a computer — you know, like the old days. 

I’m pretty much the opposite these days — I enjoy checking and responding to it much more on my mobile devices instead of the desktop web because Gmail on the web is so much slower in every regard (the only real plus — and it’s a big one — in my mind is search). 

Still, this is a pretty smart and simple hack to reclaim your day and your sanity. Sadly, I just don’t believe I can live in that mildly disconnected world. I have other plans.