Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You have no new email

Check the inbox
Originally uploaded by syris-studios.com
It happened once yesterday. I was adding colleagues to a new online tool we are starting to use for project management and was wondering why none of them had picked up things on the to-do list.

And it happened once last week. I was wondering why a friend had not answered a long email I sent. He usually answers quickly.

And it happened today. I finished a long email and pushed the 'Send' button. The programme said: 'the session has expired'. My two-page email and 30 minutes of work disappeared somewhere.

In the first case our company firewall had blocked all the messages as spam. Same happened in the second case. And in the last case the normally reliable programme failed me. All and all: email let me down.

A few years ago I read a fantastic essay from the American writer Jonathan Franzen on the impact of postal service in the way we trust things (essay published in the collection How To Be Alone). Franzen pointed out how blindly we trust that an important document finds its way to the recipient. Just think of it: how often do you make copies of something you ship? Franzen continued on elaborating how an unreliable postal system would deteriorate easily our entire trust on the system as a whole.

I come from a country where the system is designed based on those who do right and where people trust their civil servants. I admit being foolishly naïve and idealistic in many ways. Even with the excessive services that the Nordic states provide, the system - due to its trust-based form - actually remains quite cheap.

Until now I have trusted email blindly. I have felt confident that the messages go through and strangers are not reading them. Of course I have read articles about the dangers of sharing information or writing private matters through company email but they have not really had any influence on my actions. I hate the fact that I need to reposition myself in this respect.

1 comment:

TH said...

Normally moving to a new email client (not to mention to a new address) is oen of those things you try to avoid as much as possible. But I've done it a couple of times after noticing that messages weren't received or sent normally and I wasn't notified about it. I'm used to email not working, but I need to know when that happens.

About trusting blindly on postal services: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7104945.stm