Email is dying. A slow and painful death. It used to be you would send an e mail to someone and get an answer. It was a second class way to communicate with someone, but still, a good way to get an answer. Then came Microsoft Outlook and the preview Pane.
Now common on all e mail readers, it allows you to see the content of an e mail without opening it . It made not answering easier as you do not feel you actually read the email but rather peeked at it thought the envelope. It also eliminated email much quicker from your field of vision as suddenly half your incoming messages become quickly invisible.
Before Facebook, Myspace or Linked, email was the first popularity contest. The more email you received, the more popular/important you were. But still, like letters, people answered. Even if in a negative way. Spam has little to do with this phenomena as everyone knows that not answering spam is a duty. A law. a rule.
It has more to do with people education or lack of. It is the same with voice mail by the way. More and more, you will send e mails and not get any answers. Portable email readers like Treos and Blackeberry has made it worse. You are on the go, read an email, figure it will take too long to answer on a pygmy size keyboard, figure you will answer when you get back to your computer and forget all about it a few hours later.
Newsworthy is a killer too. the most recent email receives more attention than the one you receive 2 hours ago. Even if it is not as important. It has the advantage of being new and fresh.
Some companies use and abuse email as an internal tool of communication that it becomes quite impossible for anyone to have the time to answer inquiries from the outside world. People do not move from their desks anymore. I have worked in companies where I did not have the time to do anything else during the day than answer internal e mails .
Since we are bombarded with irrelevant emails, we find it ok not to reply. every site you visit, these days, will ask you to register and proceed in sending you completely irrelevant emails once a week. But, unlike a human being, a website automated newletter do not care if you do not reply. People do. Emails have no emotions since they are faceless, but most often, there is a person on the other side that is expecting an answer.
However, not responding to email is like turning your back to someone asking you a question. Ignoring voice mail is like walking away when someone is trying to talk to you. It is rude and impolite.
Sure, if you get a lot of emails and do not have the time to answer them, it makes you feel important. After all, all these people are asking for your attention and you can only focus on some. You are in control as you decide who you will talk to and who you will choose to ignore.
But there is no greatness in not responding. It is just either cowardice or lack of organization. You are either incapable of answering because you do not know what to answer or you have taken so much work that you cannot handle it anymore. neither of those are signs of intelligence or power.
Being disorganized or simply rude are signs of your impossibility to control yourself and your environment. Makes you look vulnerable and ignorant. Passive and overwhelmed. and also, very, very impolite. Without even mentioning that you may be passing on a very good opportunity.
Email is dying at a time when more and more of the photo industry is relying on it for everything to marketing to pricing negotiation. Mostly because voice mail died years ago . No one really pays attention to their email much more as there is no easy way to find see if it is important or not. They all come in democratically, one after another, whether from your boss or from that boring photographer who thinks it is a replacement for Instant Messaging.
Some are full of traps, especially if you work within a politically charge corporation. They are made to keep a written trace of your decisions or comments and will be used against you later on. Or for someone to cover their ass.
Nevertheless, it is dying as faxes have died. The technology cannot keep up with what is really needed . We have become imbeciles that cannot see that we have a duty to treat each other with respect. And, in a way, with email dying, it is a little bit more of us that is dying in the process, as we slowly return to the ways of the animals.