Email Blues

Email is so ubiquitous nowadays, so indispensable in our daily lives that if Moses barges his way into CNN’s Atlanta studio and read God’s 11th commandment on his Palm Pilot and shouts with a thunderous voice ” Thou Shalt Not Use Email” the overall productivity of this planet will drop to a standstill . Could you imagine life without email ? I mean how can we work in the office without email? Totally unimaginable isn’t it? The email inbox and outbox are the two most important folders we work with on a given day. Take away my email for a day and it will be my office cleaning day, i.e. pruning the clutter that had been threatening to infuse that garage look into my office 🙂

The virus threat had forced most companies to restrict employees to office email only, disallowing access to personal email accounts on Hotmail and Yahoo via the company’s internet link. Spam analyzers and virus checking programs are grinding their brains on mail servers to sanitize email traffic from spam and virus bearing email attachments. A great degree of success had been achieved in thwarting viruses but spam messages continue to proliferate and are the harder ones to catch. Spammers are creative in constructing the subject field that ocassionally an email or two selling viagra slips through the cracks. Spam mails continue to thrive because they have not been declared illegal but this is altogether another topic of discussion.

Virus and spam and what not, I can live with them because they’re part and parcel of the ills that plague a technology that had for the most part revolutionized the way humans communicated for the last 20 years. I love email. In fact I saved almost all the email exchanges I had with my wife when we were still going out. It’s a great way to reminisce the good old days. But here’s my beef with email, and has nothing to do with technology whatsoever :

a. Chain letter freaks. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend people who relish the idea of inducing a threat of doom on someone, should the person fail to reproduce and disseminate the letter to 10 other people. The promise of good fortune supposedly rewards the person who obediently reproduces and forwards the emails to 10 other people. Reward? says who?

b. The email hoax freaks. Equally irritating as chain letters, these emails concoct stories of giveaways from Apple IPOD, GAP shirts, Ericsson phone, Honda car, etc. in return for forwarding the mail to as many people as you can. Surprisingly though, some people, the least of whom I expect to believe , had been sold to the hoax !

c. The “forwarding” freaks. These people are like the human version of the mail server. Everything that goes into their inbox flows out of their outbox to the rest of the world. They would forward quotes, inspirational articles, sermon topics, .wav files, funny cartoons, jokes.. name it they’ll send it except their own nude pictures. Despite my request to avoid sending lewd pictures , I got a “firecrotch” pic of Britney Spears. Not in my office email, pal.

What should I do with these emails ? I Dump them straight to the waste basket and mark the sender as junk mail originator. In fact I was too quick and included a couple of legit names on the list 🙂 People have to be a little sensitive when sending emails to an office address.

I once mediated with a couple of friends who “fought” through email. Despite our plea for them to have a face to face confrontation and resolve the disagreement, they never did. That was 3 years ago and the hatchets were never buried. Never rely on email to resolve an argument !