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Life, it seems, provides us with too much of a good thing.
There was a time when I had but one email.
I miss those days, because even as I write this, I notice the subtle background anxiety that I might be missing something and should be checking my email accounts, all seven of them.
Or are there nine?
Let’s see; my personal/professional account, three Gmail accounts, then there is LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, and the seemingly ever-present ‘instant messenger’ (sure to pop up at an inopportune time and cover that button just when I need to read or send something..)
I noticed this a couple of years ago when a client would contact me one time by text to have me check my email, and the next time sent me files through Facebook Messenger.
Or Dropbox or Google Drive….I would bet that you know more than I when it comes to the virtues of the cloud.
My point is; in creating all of these avenues of at-the-speed-of-light communication, we have unwittingly created a situation where we can easily get bogged down on important family issues, DIY instructions, directions, or the latest cat video!
The chances to miscommunicate have been increased exponentially.
Add in a ‘smart’ phone with text and file-sharing capabilities, plus voicemail, and VISUAL voicemail!
At one point not that long ago, my family had one (rotary) phone, one phone number.. and all you had to remember were five numbers if you wanted to call grandma across town.
If she didn’t want to talk, she took the receiver off the hook.
Checking my electronic communications should only take a few minutes, but watch it expand to an hour or more if responses need to be composed and sent.
I admit I have never added up all the time to create stats on this, I really can’t afford to take the time to do it.
You see, that’s the problem.
It goes deeper.
Each time I log in to check an email account, all it takes is an enticement to ‘check out so-n-so’s Twitter post, or otherwise appeal to my short attention span…and I’m off surfing.
Bottom line here is what should have taken minutes, consumes much-larger-than-necessary chunks of my day.
And if I’m not meticulous, is an invitation to miss something important, tucked neatly in there among the solicitations.
We can’t comfortably go back to the simplicity of 1950’s technology, but I strongly encourage someone who is capable to create a simple computer interface console or portal that at a glance; 1) shows number of messages waiting on each account, 2) where the email originated, and 3) if it the email contains a solicitation or harmful spam-bot of some kind.
In the not-too-distant future, the ‘push’ technology that is being refined now will be delivering an extra measure of distraction, with things popping up on your desktop that are supposed to be geared to your tastes.
But they should only appear when you want to see them…we need to take back control.
For reasons of sanity and efficiency, this is important.
Here is where our fantasy interface earns it’s juice; it should contain a one-push ‘destruct button’ that isolates and cleans unwanted cookies from our devices.
Once that portal catches on, productivity in our first-world countries will increase, and third-world societies just now embracing the digital highway will never have to experience the confusion and waste of time that to this day, faces us on a daily basis.
The exponential growth of processing power becomes a disadvantage if it creates opportunities to miscommunicate.