A Noticing…about e-mail…

Anyone who knows me knows that email is not the best way of getting in touch with me…

Anyway…

Earlier today, I received a tweet telling me I’d been sent an email (the email was only a couple of lines long… it would have probably fitted into a tweet…) but without too much of a hint about what it contained… (okay, I exaggerate: there was a hint; but the story’s better this way;-)

Because I hold email in low regard, I felt no urgency to check it…

Checking my Google docs account just by the by (it’s space I visit quite frequently, typically several times a day), I noticed the arrival of a new document that had been shared with me… I had a look at the document, and made a couple of comments…

Then I got another tweet asking if I had got the message I’d been sent earlier..?

I assumed that this was about the document I had commented on…

So we have a mismatch in expectations. One scenario goes like this:

– someone shares a doc with me
– I open it and comment on it. My change means the doc is updated as “modified/unread” in other folks’ document listings.

Another goes like this:
– someone shares a doc with me
– they email me to let me know
– I pick up the email, read it, and note that there’s a doc I need to attend to
– I open the doc and comment on it.

Or like this:
– someone shares a doc with me
– they email me to let me know
– I pick up the email, read it, and note that there’s a doc I need to attend to
– I respond to the email (“ok- thanks, will check”)
– I open the doc and comment on it.

And another:
– someone shares a doc with me
– they email me to let me know
– they send me a tweet to let me know about the email
– I pick up the tweet (“ok – thanks, will check”, as a tweet)
– I pick up the email, read it, and note that there’s a doc I need to attend to, then reply by email (“ok, thanks, will check”, as an email)
– I open and comment on the document.

It may also goes like this:
– someone shares a doc with me
– they email me to let me know
– they send me a tweet to let me know about the email
– I pick up the tweet (“ok – thanks, will check”, as a tweet)
– I pick up the email, read it, and note that there’s a doc I need to attend to, then reply by email (“ok, thanks, will check”, as an email)
– I open and comment on the document
– I send an email and/or a tweet saying I have commented on the doc…

So it goes…

4 comments

  1. Carl Morris

    The “network effects” of email junkies can be pretty annoying. My attitude to email is fairly healthy I think, if only other peoples’ was…

  2. AJ Cann

    Two issues: times and spaces. Twitter etc encourages people to expect near realtime responses, but recipients may not be resident in the sender’s preferred workspace(s). How to solve this? Difficult.

    • Tony Hirst

      @ajcann But assumption typically that email is the place for marshalling notifications? For me, Google docs “unread” is becoming increasingly useful?

  3. imma

    Messages asking about unspecified-earlier-message can be amusing to respond to as if they were talking about another earlier message …
    This tends to clarify things quite quickly