EmailWhile the search continues for the proverbial ‘better mousetrap’, there is one other piece of technology that really needs a new approach or re-inventing. Since the very first days of the Internet, oh so many years ago I know, there has been one element that has stayed exactly the same. Unaltered and depressingly 1990’s.


It has not changed at all since I first used the Internet in the mid-nineties. To, From, Subject and no matter what email client/program you use, it becomes a long list of unmanageable items. While search, sort and threading help a little, these are not great wonders of technology. So many work day in day out using email, and the same issues arise. Sending to the wrong people. Forgetting to copy your boss. Missing an important message because it was lost among a whole list of forwarded jokes sent by your Aunty Mavis. Missing a message because your spam filter was over active.

Oh, sorry. I forgot to copy you.
Did you get my email?
Ooops, I didn’t mean to copy you on that.
Oh not that damn joke again.
Did you reply? Um, to what?
Returned message: The recipient’s mailbox is full. 

No matter how you organise your email, in the end you go scanning down a list which is probably no faster that flicking through a pile of memos. There are those who are still so unconvinced about email that they print out individual messages to be sure they can find them again. So, how far have we progressed here?

Surely there is something better than email. As it stands today, it is hardly more technological than a fax machine.

A Better Mousetrap
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5 thoughts on “A Better Mousetrap

  • 07/11/2011 at 9:54 am

    I’m a recent convert to gmail but it can be the stuff of nightmares.. After wrestling with a particularly sensitive email for a few hours..back and forth writing & re-writing stream of consciousness.. from verbal abuse to toned down respectability.. I sent it off, proud that I had managed to get the tone just right.. But then to my horror discovered that all my previous efforts were still present and correct underneath the final message… Luckily, the guy was forgiving and saw the funny side.. but it could have been catastrophic.

    Now that’s not a mistake you’re likely to make in a hurry with a pen, paper and the Royal Mail… unless you’re Thomas Hardy, of course.

    • 07/11/2011 at 1:35 pm

      Do what I do when composing a long email – write the darned thing elsewhere, like Word for instance. then all you have to do us cut and paste it. :D

  • 07/11/2011 at 10:45 am

    Hands off email ! It’s the only bit of communications software that I can understand. I grew up with email, and it MAKES SENSE. All these other twitters and facebooks and trip-overs I find totally confusing and self-defeating. In a world of confusion, email is my one rock. Apart from providing a simple way to converse with my friends and contacts all over the world, it’s a great filing system, a diary and aide-memoire and does a lot of other useful stuff besides, that I can’t think of right now.

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