Is E-mail Evil?

Just before Christmas, I got this in an email from a friend of mine:

I’ve decided, you see, that I’m spending too much of my precious time on this planet staring at screens of one sort or another so I’m attempting a wee bit of a wean.

My friend then listed his contact info: snail mail/address and phone number.

I was also a bit shocked to discover that one of Vancouver’s more prolific Bloggers and Tweeters, Raul Pacheco,              Hummingbird 604, announced that he was going away on holidays from Dec 18 to Jan 3, and was choosing to  disconnect during that time–no email, no texts, no tweets.

This got me to thinking: is e-mail evil? So evil that we have to cut ourselves off from it completely to save our sanity?

The idea seems horrible and foreign to me. Looking beyond the fact that e-mail is basically the main tool I use to make a living, it also is about as ingrained into my life as breathing. I, in fact, have this little automatic timer inside my head that goes off when I haven’t checked my email in a while. I can’t stop it. And I don’t need to–I have a Blackberry, so I can even check my email when I’m not in front of my computer.

I won’t apologize for loving my e-mail. But I do get how people can get burnt out of technology. And I don’t want you to get the wrong impression–I feel like I control my email, not that it controls me. I’m pretty good about leaving it alone on the weekends or when I’m on holiday. I have all the beepy-flashy alerts turned off on my Blackberry, so I check it when I feel like it, instead of when it blinks.

What do you think? Is e-mail evil? Are we too dependent on it? Or is there some way to forge a relationship with our e-mail where we use it as the tool it was meant to be, without it taking over our lives?

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 5

  1. Email is my friend 🙂 Really, emails are so effective and quick, and sometimes the phone drives me insane. I still love to get a good old fasioned letter in the mail, and to have a nice chat on the phone once in a while, but without email I’m not sure what I would do! I think it’s good to have a break once in a while..like you said, while on holiday or weekends….on Christmas break I checked email only about once a day, and that was nice, but being completely out of touch, unless you are in a third world country and unable to get to an internet café (which probably wouldn’t happen) is not something I would deliberately choose. One problem with email, though is that tone can often be miscontrued and it’s easier to be rude in an email than in person or over the phone, or you might accidentally send a message before you’re ready, so here’s a great tip I learned:

    -Write the content of the email first, and then enter the email address only after you’re finished and ready to send. Save your email for a while, it’ll still be there 🙂

    So, my point is, when used properly, email is one of the most effective communication tools out there and an essential part of marketing and publicity.

  2. heard an interesting discussion on the radio (not even a podcast! How’s that for old fashioned) last night about the definition of evil. THe philosopher (Richard Sheridan) posited that evil was both the dliberate infliction of harm that we most often think of but also the passive form where one neglects to examine one’s beliefs closely enough, thus causing harm to others.

    So in that definition, one could say that if you are not conscious of the damage that email is doing to oneself – it’s evil. I do think most people have stopped questioning the necessity of it.

    I control it by not emailing outside of work…Call me old fashioned. Don’t even answer my cell at home.

  3. To answer the question of whether email is evil, one must answer the same way one does to the question “How long is a piece of string?” IT DEPENDS!

    It depends on each person and what they want.

    To me, this whole discussion is so 1990s. 🙂

  4. It was hard for me to leave email, Twitter, etc. Particularly as my business is burgeoning and my students were asking me if they could enroll in my university-level classes. But I felt SO good for the time I got disconnected!

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