Kathy Andersen, author, Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life.
If you find yourself writing a book review and publishing it on the Internet, chances are that digital marketers will track down your e-mail address and mark you for public-relations campaigns. Being marketers, they’ll know to focus most of their e-mails on books you might want to review. Being digital, they’ll assume that their audience lacks all but the most basic forms of taste and intelligence and may "Care to speak with Sheila on feeling good in the bedroom (in more ways than one)" or want to follow "a wise and wild path for navigating the dating world [...]
Even speaking as someone with 126 emails—oh Lord, 128 since I started writing this—marked as "important and unread" that I really do intend to answer as soon as possible, which is proving to be something of a struggle, and also sort of humiliating given that some of them date back to, like, January, this claim that people are digitally wasting our time with politeness is, as the publisher of Little Brown put it this morning, pretty much the day civilization died.
But here's the deal. For each member of your family that your column cites, it becomes doubly as dubious. (This tactic is a hallmark of columns [...]
"A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Senator Pat] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies—including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission—to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant." —Maybe we're all better off without the Senate protecting our Internet privacy. UPDATE: Tech industry people get angry, Leahy kills the warrantless part, for now.
Here is what is happening now: people have become unwilling to send emails. They're too cumbersome, they're too long and there's actually not an app for that. And no one wants to type that long on their devices, plus they're already logged in to their social medias and whatnots.
Here are some things that I have seen this week:
• People replying to my emails… by randomly putting their response on Twitter.
• People replying to emails… by way of AIM.
• People following up on emails that haven't been answered yet… by Gchat.
"[A]ccording to the Congressional Management Foundation, the House of Representatives got 99,053,399 messages via the Internet in 2004. That's 227,708.9 messages per member of Congress. If a member took an average of 30 seconds to thoughtfully read each email they received in 2004, it'd take them 79 days solely to read their mail from the Internet. For a member of the Senate it's worse: 288 straight 24-hour days worth of constituent communications at 30 seconds a piece. Most people don't spend that many hours awake in a year." —In which Math helps persuade us into believing even more firmly that online petitions don't really do much in the way [...]