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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 52 (On Reply to All – Again!)

Gran Canaria - Maspalomas DunesAs I am about to finish with another Monday, on another busy week at work, I thought I would share some of the excitement of what I have been going through over the last couple of weeks. Yes, indeed, it is time again for that blog post with information details on the weekly progress report about my quest to giving up e-mail at work, but this time as well reflecting on a major milestone I will be sharing shortly with you folks.

If you have paid close enough attention to the title of the blog post you would realise that the post I’m putting together relates to week 52, yes, week 52!! of this particular experiment, which I would say is more of a new reality for me, and that means that last week it marked the one year I have been giving up on e-mail altogether! Yes, one year without e-mail at work! Yay!

Well, to be more precise, the actual date of when I started with this quest was February 15th 2008, so I still have got a few more days to enjoy such exciting anniversary. I never thought I would be saying this, but I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I decided to make that blunt move and give up on e-mail altogether!

A lot has happened since that date and over the course of the next few days, and in between other blog posts, I am going to share a number of different insights on what the whole experience has been and what I plan on doing for the second year as my next challenge. Thus stay tuned for some more to come, as I am sure you will find it rather interesting.

For now, though I thought I would share with you folks the progress report from last week, week 52, which I can tell is a rather interesting one, because it is highlighting one trend I am starting to see repeat itself more and more. But without much further ado, here it is:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 52

The incoming count of e-mails is settled on the usual average I have been getting over the last few months. This time around on 36 e-mails. The interesting trend that I see coming up is how both Mondays and Fridays seem to be the quietest days of the week in terms of e-mails received whereas the rest of the week, they are not. To the point where last week they triggered me to tweet the following nugget:

"Confirmed: Mondays people *do* some work; Fridays they prepare for the weekend; rest of the week they overload you with emails! #toti"

It is a trend which is going to be a rather interesting challenge; to see whether I can confirm if it is the case or not, but so far it feels like it. And pretty much so! Let’s see how it goes from there.

For now though, I am going to share with you folks an interesting couple of links, talking about the same subject, which I am sure is going to grab your attention. I first got alerted about it by my good friend Livio Hughes, Director and co-founder of Headshift, through one of his tweets; then I got another alert from a fellow IBMer, and good friend as well, Ed Brill, who blogged it at "TechCrunch: Nielsen Deletes Reply-To-All Button". Livio’s tweet pointed me to this piece by Dylan Stableford: "Dunder Mifflin Alert! Nielsen to Disable Employees’ ‘Reply to All’ E-mail Functionality".

Both articles talk about a rather blunt move by Nielsen, where from a specific date onwards, January 29th 2009, the (in)famous "Reply to All" button was going to be disabled, so that no-one would be able to make use of it any longer! Talking about bold moves, eh? This would pretty much nail it, as far as I can see.

You would be able to see the reasoning directly from either of both links mentioned above, including the communication that got sent out announcing such initiative, but one thing that I have found interesting, and rather fascinating, is the negative response of the commentary throughout, thinking that it may have been just far too bold by itself. Well, in my experience, i.e. not having used e-mail in the last year, I can certainly confirm that I would be more than happy to join that initiative and forget about the "Reply to All" button altogether! The amount of wasted time, unnecessary increase of incoming e-mails and the overall abuse certainly makes me feel that such button, along with that one to attach files, are the two biggest time wasters from every single e-mail conversation you may engage with!

What would be interesting to see, and witness, is, for such initiatives as that one from Nielsen, what it would be like running it for a short period of time, say, a week or two, and see how people would react and interact. I bet it would achieve exactly what I have been trying to say all along: think before you send that e-mail, because there is a great chance there would be better ways to share the message across!

Thus well done, Nielsen! Great to see how you pushing the limits and, although you may not go that very far, seeing the dependency some folks seem to have on their e-mail systems, I surely want to take this opportunity to thank you for challenging our traditional methods of work within the enterprise, because you have certainly shown us there is a problem, and we need to do something about it. Or, at least, try!

Are you? Are you ready to challenge the way you interact at work through e-mail? Could you live without "Reply to All" for a week? If your answer is Yes!, why aren’t you doing it then? ;-)

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 51 (SNBC – Connect, Collaborate, Innovate)

Gran Canaria - Risco Blanco, Pozo de las Nieves & Santa LucíaAnd we are back at it again, folks. Time for that weekly progress report on giving up e-mail at work where I am getting really, really, close to the one year anniversary of such remarkable quest: reducing my incoming e-mail count consistently over the last few months and, instead, use more and more social software tools to get the job done!

So here we are again, and, by the looks of it, it seems that the numbers for last week are back to the usual average I have been getting for a good number of months as well. But let’s get to the report itself so that you have an opportunity to check it out and see what’s changed from the previous week itself:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 51

As you would be able to see, the number of incoming e-mails went up again to the usual average: 30 e-mails a week, but what seems to be most interesting is the fact that both at the beginning of the week and at the end the peaks of incoming e-mails are rather low, which is starting to make me think that’s probably when people are doing most of the work (i.e. Monday / Tuesday) or preparing for the weekend (i.e. Friday). And somehow mid-week is when the number of e-mails seems to be the highest. Interesting fact, eh? Well, let’s see what happens this week and see if that new trend confirms itself or not. I will keep you all posted!

For now though, I thought I would share with you a couple of interesting links, which I am sure you are going to enjoy quite a bit.

A few days ago, David Christopher (From Oracle‘s Social Networking & Business Collaboration) sent across, through Twitter, a quick tweet sharing a new video he has been working on with Frank Bradley, where they are showing an "insight into the Social Networking & Business collaboration team in Oracle, the strategy and how we are bringing Web 2.0 into the business environment". Rather interesting and relevant stuff for those folks interested in Social Networking within the corporate world and a completely different perception from what we were exposed to at the Enterprise 2.0 conference (Link points to 2009’s event, by the way!) in Boston last June.

I won’t be saying much more about the videos themselves, other than point you to the couple of different takes that were made for it: Take I and Take II (Tried to embed the videos themselves over here, but, unfortunately, they messed up the blog post, so you would have to click on the links, I am afraid), as well as one single gem that shows up on both videos, which is one of their key objectives: Reduce email by 50%! Yes, by 50%!! I have been able to reduce my e-mail count by over 85% so far and I can imagine they would be doing something similar pretty soon. They are already making some really good progress!

So … who said again I am all by myself on this one? Oh, want to have another interesting bonus link? Check out what Hutch Carpenter and Jennifer Leggio have been doing lately under "One Thing Social Software Needs: The Guaranteed Delivery Button". Yes, indeed, slowly, but steadily, we are getting there! :-D

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 50 (Impact of Social Software in HR)

Lotusphere 2009 - At the ShowcaseStill on the road, currently in Madrid (Where tomorrow I am scheduled to do a couple of internal events on Social Software at IBM), and after a rather interesting event in Orlando with Lotusphere 2009, here I am again back at my regular blogging, this time around with another weekly progress report on my quest to giving up e-mail at work that I have started a few months ago, as most of you already know.

I hope later on this week to be able to share with you some further insights on Lotusphere, as I am sure plenty of you would be interested in that very same topic. But for now, I’m going to continue sharing with you that weekly progress, so that you get to see what’s been like after the last couple of weeks with some interesting events and the transition into IBM Spain I’m about to complete a month of already! Thus without much further ado, here is the weekly report from last week:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 50

Right on target, indeed! Like I have mentioned a couple of times already, now that I am consistently on the average of 20 to 30 e-mails a week, I have got a new target which is getting below 20 e-mails a week! And, as you would be able to see from the report above, I have managed to do that, even though I was gone from the office the entire week and my connection to the Internet was more than desirable. But yet, there it is, 16 e-mails!! Nice one!

And now, on to the interesting link that I have bumped into the last few days. This time around it is going to be a Spanish link, but still incredibly relevant to the overall discussion. It comes from Gonzalo Martin, who, so far, has put together one of the best review posts from a conference session I have done in the past, in this case EventoBlog, "El hombre que mató al correo electrónico", colaboración con EventoBlog, and who, this time around, created a very compelling, enlightening and educational presentation (Put together by himself with the help of his community! Yay!!) that describes the impact of Social Software in Human Resources: "Charla sobre medios sociales para los alumnos del máster de RRHH de la Carlos III".

In the past I have mentioned how HR needs to start getting their act together in order to benefit the most from Social Computing, because, in my own experience, and while talking to other folks, they seem to be the last ones getting on board (This recent blog post is just a small proof of it) and it shouldn’t be like that.

If HR is all about the people and for the people, then they should hurry up quite a bit and dive into social software right away, before they lose their touch with those very same people. Because once the train starts to move on, there is no way to catch up! Lucky enough, Gonzalo’s presentation sets up quite nicely the steps to follow in order to jump into the bandwagon and keep up with the conversation:

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