Spent a highly enjoyable evening at the Gurteen Knowledge Cafe last Wednesday. Never actually been to one before so wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t anticipate running into all sorts of people who I knew from other contacts and networks, some not even to do with the Web (hello Alex, Len, Penny, Luis, Ray, Stuart, Neil and others..!). The main reason for going was because Luis Suarez was speaking, who I met through this blog and have done some podcasts with in the past. Luis spoke for 20 minutes about his experiment to drop corporate email and then we broke for discussion around the question of whether or not you could live without email. What was refreshing was that there was some serious challenge to Luis’s position. All too often at these events you get a big social software love-in where everyone agrees that the world is going to change completely. And probably by next week. I actually thought Luis got a rough ride but that brought out the best in those on the other side of the argument.
The general consensus was that you could not live without email, but you probably could live with it a lot less. Email needs to be put in its box (private communication, notification, some collaboration across time zones) and kept there.
One of the interesting side conversations was about the amount of noise that email can generate, and whether social software can help increase the signal to noise ratio we’re exposed to in our working lives. That’ll wait for the next post..