E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip – Additional Commentary (Part II)

Continuing further with some additional commentary on the input shared by folks over at I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip, and since the previous blog post was getting a bit too much on the long side, here I go again, but this time around with Part II of that extended commentary on a couple of thoughts that I would want to reference as well over here, regarding my new reality of no longer working with corporate e-mail. Thus let’s move on with the next topic at hand…

– The power of an RSS / Atom feed aggregator and Bacn E-mail

I have mentioned this in the past a few times already, but I thought it would be worth while again taking the opportunity to revisit this particular item. If you would ask me for one of the most undervalued technologies from the social computing world of the 21st century I would definitely I have to say that RSS / Atom feeds would be it! No doubt about it! I am not sure why, whether it is due to the weird naming convention used of those concepts or perhaps the true innovation behind the entire concept where you no longer hunt down new content, you eventually get Web sites sending the new content directly to you, it looks like RSS / Atom feeds will continue to struggle for grabbing the necessary attention to make you incredibly much more productive.

To me, though, they are the main application within the 2.0 world that allows me to make sense of it all in such a way, an important way, by the way, that they allow me to be in control of what I would want to syndicate or subscribe to and that way I can keep up with everything that I am interested in. Something that doesn’t really happen with e-mail where you no longer have the control, no matter what folks would say about it.

So, at this point in time, and in case you may not be familiar just yet, you may be wondering what an RSS / Atom feed reader is, right? Well, I think in this case we wouldn’t have many problems trying to explain what they are, because the great folks at Commoncraft have already done a superb job at it, and in less than 4 minutes, trying to explain, in Plain English, what RSS is all about and how to get things going with feed readers. I can certainly guarantee you that after watching such a short video you would be wondering how you could have lived in the corporate world without an RSS / Atom feed reader all along!:

(Now you know how I keep track of everything that is going on in my 2.0 world, without any effort and without going out of my daily routines. It is all integrated into my daily workflow. Yes, that’s the whole point behind a feed reader: your own single point of contact with the outside world, whatever that may well be!, at your own pace and under your own control!)

However, and after having said all of that, let me share with you something else that you may find a bit contradictory, but fun! There is one aspect of e-mail that I really really enjoy and I just can’t get enough of it. Yes, that aspect of e-mail I am so much in love with is Bacn. All of those automated notifications generated by most social networking tools that notify you of new / update content / updates available for you to check out. Those automated notifications that take hardly any space and which you can scan through real quick and click on the handy link(s) available to head over to the real content out on the Web.

I must say that I don’t consider those real e-mails, though, more than anything else because I have got better notification systems, like my good friend Dave Pollard would say, but one thing for sure is that I can’t wait for e-mail to turn itself into a whole new world of Bacn! Can’t wait long enough for it to happen, specially on the Enterprise world!

– e-mail and the younger generation (Gen Y)

Last, but not least, a common topic that I keep bumping into wherever I go and which I would also want to touch base on, even though it will just be a couple of sentences, since I am already working on another much longer blog post where I will expand further on this thought. As most folks I have been interacting with from all over the place in the last few months would know my biggest inspiration for giving up on e-mail at work has actually been the youngest generation of the workforce. Yes, those Gen Yers, who are about to enter the workplace, if not already, and which surely are going to change the way we all interact with one another.

I realise that most folks would not buy into the generational divide and everything, but I must say that I do see the differences in how older & younger generations get to interact in the corporate environment and if there is one thing for sure that I know of is that the younger ones will not use e-mail, if they can avoid it, and in most cases they will! I am sure! Yes, I am talking about that younger generation of knowledge workers who wants to collaborate, share knowledge & connect with other fellow colleagues in real-time, right as they speak and without wasting their time with some other traditional tools that, if anything, just keep slowing things quite a bit! But, like I said, I would be expanding further on this. For now though I would want to leave you with an initial thought which I will recover later on…

Have you ever participated on a PhD thesis from one of these Gen Yers throughout the entire course of the summer, or worked with them actively as summer interns? Have you already been approached by then wanting to have a piece of your knowledge or expertise? Well, if you haven’t, you may want to go ahead and do it. Spend some time with them and you will be able to see the kind of generation that is just about to enter the workforce, if not already! Then you will know why I decided to give up, five months ago, on corporate e-mail as my primary method for knowledge sharing and collaboration.

And, finally, to wrap up some final thoughts I would like to draw your attention into one of the commenters, as I have felt very very identified with most of the stuff he mentioned in his rather long, but very worth it!, commentary available over here. The wise words come from Jonathan B. Spira, CEO, Chief Analyst and founder of Basex, who a couple of weeks back shared a gem or two along these lines:

"E-mail has become a critical tool in the knowledge economy arsenal yet it’s also a subject of derision.

Why?

Because we simply don’t know how to manage our own use of it and how to use it intelligently."

I don’t think I would have been able to put it together in better words than those, to be honest. Now you know why I am moving away from corporate e-mail and into the social computing world 🙂

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