If I would have to define the events that took place during the course of yesterday, Monday, when I was back at work at my home office, for quite some time after having finished a great deal of trips all over the place, I would have to define it all with three different keywords: hangover, funny & ironic! Yesterday I was supposed to get things going back again with my regular blogging; alas, it didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen because of the three descriptive keywords I just mentioned above.
Hangover, because I am still tasting the great victory of the Spanish football team at the unforgettable match against Germany in the finals of the European Championship. Yes, that tournament where we all were able to witness Football – Made in Spain. Like I have been mentioning all along. It is going to take us all weeks!, before we would be going back to normal again. So bear with us for a little while longer. You see? We didn’t get to experience this far too often, so now that we are, we want to get the most out of it!
Funny, because over the course of the weekend I finally managed to get through one of the major highlights of this year for myself and the kind of stuff I have been doing for the last five months. No, I am not talking about the recent Forbes.com article on "IBM’s Webbie World", which was pretty massive by itself, and will deserve, at a later time, a blog post on its own! I am talking about the article I got published by the New York Times (NYTimes from here onwards) detailing some more on the topic of my new reality of giving up on e-mail, i.e. corporate e-mail: I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip.
Yes, that is the title on what has been a MASSIVE day for myself having to catch up with a whole bunch of conversations on this very same topic of giving up on corporate e-mail, in order to remain as productive as ever, if not more!, by making use of social software tools. And you may be wondering why yesterday was a funny day? Well, amongst various different ways, because you cannot imagine the huge amount of e-mails I got coming through both of my corporate & personal e-mail accounts on that very same topic of folks forwarding the article from NYTimes, or sending their congrats and kind wishes along, enquiring about how I am actually doing it, etc. etc.
I know! Too funny! How can that be that I am trying to pull the plug off and walk away from corporate e-mail, managed to get an article in the NYTimes on that very same topic and get back more e-mails than I ever wanted to anticipate! Arrrrggggghhhh! Yes, I can only think about just one thing: too funny!
And, finally, ironic, more than anything else because for a good number of the last few hours that particular article I published in the NYT was on the list of the Top 10 Most Popular e-mailed items! Ha! I know! Funny & ironic at the same time, indeed! Well, it doesn’t stop there, because if you care to take a few minutes to check out the reactions it has provoked already, it is going to keep me busy for a while as well trying to reply to some of the most fascinating discussions I have seen on the topic to date! And, no to worry, I am going to do just that! No doubt! It is not going to be the last word I’ll be saying on the topic…
I am not sure whether it will provoke a more profound change on how I have been dealing with things ever since I got started with this particular new reality of mine, but what I have realised all along is the huge amount of work to be done out there still to help enlighten folks as to how much more productive they can really be using social computing tools, than good old e-mail! Right, am I saying that e-mail is dead? No, I am NOT saying that! In fact, if you have been reading on this experiment from the very beginning you would remember how I have never mentioned that e-mail is dead!
I am just saying that it needs to be re-purposed and used for what it was meant to be in the first place: A communication tool for one on one conversations of a sensitive, private or confidential nature. The rest should be going out there, in the open, in the public space(s), transparent and with an opportunity for everyone to contribute! Notice that I am differentiating quite clearly between communication and collaboration, because they are not the same, no matter what people say about it!
Thus from here onwards I am going to use such article in NYTimes to continue further channeling some of the different experiences, thoughts, ideas, insights into various different blog posts, where I will be taking things into the next level, helping folks understand how I have managed to succeed at it, and, most important, how you can also get it going yourself for your own benefit, as well as your team’s & your communities’!
So what a better way of getting this started with a new level of interactions than sharing with you folks the various status reports from the last few weeks, now that my travelling spree is over and I would have plenty of more time to digest the actual outcome and how things have progressed further so far. I know that for a good number of weeks, up to Week 14, I have been providing a weekly report of how things have been moving along. And then things have stopped for a little while. Well, there was a reason why I didn’t come to the progress reports on how I am giving up on corporate e-mail. And that was the sheer madness of all of the trips I have been involved with lately.
But now that all of those are over, with the odd exception here and there, I think I am ready to go and share with you all the various different status reports, one after the other, so that you can see the progress, which I will try to evaluate with some final comments on the actual result and where I will be going from here. Thus without much further ado, here are the various different weekly progress reports on my giving up on e-mail new reality:
Phew! That was quite a lot of data to look into, Mr! Glad it is now over! As you would be able to see from the various different screen shots from the report, things were starting to change in my Inbox handling my incoming e-mails as I was starting to go into a dangerous trend of more and more e-mails week in, week out. Mainly due to the constant travel and the increasing lack of access to the Internet itself. As amazing as that sounds! I have been travelling to various places (Highlights on each of them coming up shortly as well!) where staying connected was a big challenge at best, including airports and big hotels! Not very helpful, to say the least … 🙁
But then again, last week things were back on track, once more, or, even better, when the total number of e-mails hit a new low in the five months I have been giving up on work related e-mail! Only 24!!! How amazing is that during the course of an entire week, with a short trip in between, I manage to just get 24 e-mails! Massive! Very.
And here I am, already going through the 21st week on this new reality of mine where I am no longer (ab)using corporate e-mail & where I am continuing to use it for the main purposes I mentioned earlier on. And as I am moving into the six months barrier, I am thinking that I am now ready to share with you folks which are the main tools, within the social computing space, that I get to use on a very regular basis, so that everyone out there bumping into this blog, and its many posts, would be able to find those tips helpful and resourceful to help them as well avoiding the clutter of collaborating through e-mail and bringing in a new wave of online interactions, much more out in the open, public, transparent and with the opportunity for everyone to contribute accordingly.
Thus stay tuned, because we just got started with this all! To me, it all begun with a single weekend where hangover, funny & ironic took a new meaning: that one of extending further and beyond the experience of what it feels like living without e-mail! … Can you imagine?
I surely did! I surely can! How about you? Want to join me?
Tags: IBM, See the Light, Collaboration, Remote Collaboration, e-mail, email, Social Software, Social Networking, Social Media, Social Computing, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation, Productivity, Conversations, Dialogue, Openness, Transparency, Progress Reports, Knowledge Sharing, KM, Knowledge Management, Collaboration 2.0, Communication, Spain, European Champions, Hangover, Football, Forbes, New York Times, NYTimes, Irony