I just read through Jack Vinson’s post on email, writing and expertise location (written largely in response to Luis Suarez’s ongoing quest to dump email) — and I think Jack’s right on the money with his observations.
With any system, there is the inevitable volume question — how do we derive the quality information from the mediocre but high-quantity information. As Jack correctly points out, using collaboration tools (think Twitter, FaceBook, etc.) can actually make it more difficult to track that conversation down later on, whereas an email conversation (thread, basically) might be easier to search through.
In addition to Jack’s points, I can also envision situations where client confidentiality or other sensitivities would prevent you from having this sort of public conversation — where you would want the flow of any conversation to be tightly controlled and monitored (counter-intuitive to collaboration, I know, but unfortunately, sometimes a regulatory or legal reality).
I’ve always believed that most of the time, frustrations arise due to people picking the wrong method of communication for a particular conversation. There is nothing inherently good or bad about email, we just sometimes need to give a bit more thought as to whether it’s the appropriate mode of communication for what we need to talk about.
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