Jon Udell on E-mail's special power
The article "Email's Special Power" details why email is the unquestioned comunication application among the masses. I'd like to note a few points tangential to this article:
Email cc: lists are the electronic grapevine. Fast moving, convenient, and limited to that closed circle leaving the commons feeling intrusive or even more an outsider when not invited. This applies to externally requesting or offered inclusion also. Email cc: lists follow the branching, entwining and grafting of grapevines leaving information coverage confidence to only to be realized through exhaustive cc: lists. (Ever had your side conversation re-enter the list? Ouch!)
I'm looking forward to a follow-up scoped to an organizational intranet. There are lightweight, open and archived mailing list tools. My favorite is Zwiki. I've started an outline for documenting it's Simple Mailing List features. I expect that in an intranet setting, it will not suffer the commons and email diseases of the Internet, thus reducing the burden of existance even further.
But the spoken word is king, and anything written brings (even more)apprehension. Instant messaging and blogging embrace the conversation while email adds just enough formality (or potential for it), archiving and ridiculously easy group nomination. Mailing lists and blogs transform that quaint candle at the center of the cc: list table to the spotlight of the searchlight-er-engine.
I seem to have digressed. Jon ends with a call to fix email. Onward! But don't let the diseases of the internet distract or burden the possibilities in your intranet.
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