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

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 39 (Calendaring Mess!)

After a day and a half of a massive catchup; after a wonderful week on holidays, which ended up with yours truly attending (And presenting) at EventoBlog 2008 in Seville last weekend, it is now time to resume my regular blogging activities on my second day back at work! Goodness! What a fantastic few days! For the first time in a few months I have been about 99% of the time totally disconnected from everything Internet related and it felt great! I now know I should be doing this a whole lot more often! It was just too good to be ignored again!

But if those vacation days were not good enough, over the course of last weekend I have actually been attending one of the most impressive, and wonderful, social computing events I have attended in the last few months: EventoBlog 2008 in Seville, Spain. Two full days packed with some stunning presentations, round tables and panels around the world of blogging that would be difficult to forget! And the networking throughout the event was just an amazing experience I am hoping to be sharing with you folks shortly.

So much so that after attending the event, two days onwards and I am still jazzed up about it! So much that I have decided that from now onwards there will be a number of changes happening with my blogging habits, one of them being that very shortly I will be starting to blog as well in Spanish, as well as English, so that I would be able to reach out to those folks as well who asked plenty of questions and commented quite a bit around the subject of my giving up on e-mail at work new reality, which was the main subject of my talk at Sunday noon.

But that would be the subject for a number of upcoming blog posts as part of the series of highlights articles I will be sharing over here shortly detailing what the event was all about. Thus stay tuned …  For now, though, I thought I would pick things up where I left them and continue further with another weekly progress report on how things have been going with not using corporate e-mail any longer.

I am already on week 39 and by the end of it I was a little bit worried about it, specially after seeing the final number of incoming e-mails, which, so far, has been one of the highest since I started this whole thing. However, when examining the actual numbers and what happened during that week I knew exactly I didn’t have to worry about it. At all. And I will explain why.

But without any further delay here you have got the weekly report, so that you folks can have a look and find out some more on what happened:

As you would be able to see, 49 e-mails is not something that I have been receiving every week and, checking out the previous weeks, I was starting to get worried, like I mentioned above, that things may be going even further along and increase further up. But then again, I was just getting worried for nothing. Why? Because most of those incoming e-mails were actually provoked by myself! And no one else!

Yes, that is right! I was the main guilty party of receiving such a high number! And I am sure you may be wondering why, by now, right? Well, thanks to the ever lovely (Not!!) calendaring & scheduling options embedded in our e-mail systems, as well as the ever confusing Daylight Savings Time (That happened over that weekend in the US), which caused me much more harm than I could ever anticipate!

As you all know by now, I co-lead a community of social computing evangelists at IBM (BlueIQ Ambassadors) and right now there are over 500 of us and every now and then we eventually get together on a conference call to share some further news with the community and comment on the various activities we are engaging with as a community.

Well, on this week, week 39, it was the time where we were going to get together again and, as one of the co-leads, I had to send out the calendar invite to everyone, so that they could all make it. And, of course, since we don’t have much choice, all of us, in this aspect, I had to use e-mail for that. And, guess what?, things messed up and pretty badly!

Apparently, when I sent out the calendar invite, the timezones got mixed up and people had the details of the call on the right date, but at a different time. So there I go with my attempt to fix the whole mess and it took me not just one more try, but two!, to eventually fixed it all up! And that meant first three days of that week a complete mess with multiple e-mails arriving asking what happened! Or even some folks who were questioning my usage of e-mail, or my lack of effectiveness with it altogether, since I no longer use it! Yes, I know, too funny & ironic! hehe (Tell me about it!)

And the rest of the week I spent it recovering from the whole total mess! Goodness, never thought that a calendaring event could cause so much harm when combined with the DST changes that happened at the time in the US. I tell you something… I have learned a big lesson on this one for next time around, I will NOT mess up with the timezones and DST changes on the same week where they are taking place! Not going to run into the same embarrassing situation anymore. I had enough with this one!

Even more so, when last week I was gone the entire week on vacation and when I got back I counted the number of e-mails and things have gone back to normal again. And this week things seem to be going even better! Phew!

I don’t know what you folks think, but I just cannot wait for the day where Calendaring & Scheduling will separate itself from e-mail and have its own identity, so I can ditch e-mail for good! It is still the main reason for which I keep getting the most e-mails: just to arrange meetings, conference calls, events, etc. etc.

I long for the day where I can come to work and schedule a meeting and somehow I just wouldn’t need to use e-mail. It would just show up right there, ready to action, and without sending a single notice. Just like out of magic! Oh, yes, wishful thinking, I know, but wouldn’t it be wonderful? Wouldn’t it be an interesting challenge for calendaring & scheduling and e-mail innovators out there? … Any takers? 😉

Anyway, that would be it, folks, for week 39. Within the next few hours I will be sharing what happened on my 10th month anniversary since I have given up on corporate e-mail, which promises to be rather interesting since it is going to be very much tight up with the event I attended over the weekend: The mind-blowing EventoBlog 2008!! Stay tuned for more to come!

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