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From communication tool to notification tool
You’ve Got Mail!
How many readers remember the iconic notification? In the current world of dings, beeps, boops, chimes, and notification overload, “You’ve Got Mail” its a throwback to a simpler time. A time when notifications were few and far between. We were excited to get that notification. It meant someone was trying to communicate with us. It was a connection.
Do you have that feeling when checking your inbox today? Opening your inbox this morning, you have some combination of;
Company product updates you didn’t know you subscribed to.
Online shopping and shipping update notifications.
Newsletters you subscribed to, but don’t have the time to read right now.
Every social media website update and notification.
People asking for help, and taking you away from the work you planned for the day.
The 5 emails you have left unread for a week because you need to respond to them, but haven’t.
So many other emails you have no clue or care about and mass delete.
Somewhere along the way, we went from an amazing global communication system to overwhelming public inbox notification system. Email has changed from my personal correspondence to a third-party bulletin board.
Maybe you have an amazing inbox organizational system, some super software, or the most finely tuned filters and automations set up so that your inbox doesn’t look like this. But that goes to my point: you shouldn't need this complex setup to just talk to someone.
Email has become a massive time drain because of everything you have to weed through to get the few bit of important information. You can see it in companies and products constantly trying to replace email. Slack, Teams, Chat, Zoom, and countless others have all been created to get users out of email.
Companies are saying that email is too chaotic, move to this or that chat program instead. Only the people you want can be apart of it. I’d argue that part of the reason email is too chaotic is these companies flooding my inbox, but that’s for another time.
I don’t have a solution to solve these current issues with email (although many companies sell software that claims to). This is an observation of the current state of the internet and a longing and nostalgia for the simplicity of when I first used email.
Somewhere along the way, email went from a revolutionary universal human connection tool in the digital age to a constant public notification system that I now avoid looking at in the morning.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have you noticed this change from excitement to dread with your inbox? How do you manage the constant flood of notifications and the useless information overload?
A thought to leave with, if email was invented today, what would it look like? A post for another day…
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