Twenty-one years ago, I helped develop one of the first 8-bit LAN e-mail systems. (This one ran on the TurboDOS network.) At the time, I offered this new e-mail solution to my corporate clients; however, I could barely give it away.
The typical answer at the time was:
"Why do we need email when we can walk over to someone's desk, pick up the phone, send a fax, or send a Telex?"Eight years later, I worked with a client that was using MCIMail -- which was only a step up from using Telex -- to send messages from one desk to another in the same building -- a process that took several minutes. It was actually faster to walk across the hall then it was to use a dial-up modem to upload each message at a cost of up to a dollar a piece.
Now, e-mail has all but replaced Telex machines and faxes are only used for paper documents that cannot be sent in electronic form.
Jump forward to the age of the Blackberry, where people not only expect to be able to send a message to anyone, anywhere, at any time, but some companies expect their employees to actually respond within 2 minutes! A big change from the MCIMail days.
For better or for worse, email has certainly changed the way that people communicate over the past 20 years.
This month's Fast Company Magazine has an article about how Veritas has declared each Friday to be a no-email day.
How has e-mail changed the way that you work? How would the elimination of e-mail, if only for a day, change things for you?