The Law of Diminishing Returns

Are We Reaching the Limits of E-Mail?

Every time a new technology comes into being, it gets vitiated by overuse as an advertising medium. I remember back to the early days of junk mail, when it was still a novelty, and I was more willing to consider it as having some value. That included those little voting guides put out by Citizens For … or Taxpayers Against ….The last Presidential election turned me into a person who wound up tossing most of his junk mail without so much as a glance. The same thing is now happening with all those mail order catalogs from various Indian Missions and yuppie techno-device vendors. It’s relatively rare for me now to salvage more tha n one tenth of what ends up choking my mailbox.

That goes double for e-mail. I have learned to distrust e-mail—even from friends—unless it shows some sign of knowing who I am. Several of my good friends have had their computers taken over by Malware that sends me e-mails that contain nothing but a URL. No thanks: That’s like inviting a vampire into your house.

Then, too, there are companies in my industry that think it’s a great idea to send me half a dozen e-mails a day. Unless they are announcing a new release of their software that has to be downloaded, it all goes into the Delete folder toute suite. I get invited to more webinars every day than any human being can reasonably be expected to take, so into the Biz Bag with them as well.

I suspect that smart phones will soon become the next garbage overload medium. Although my cell phone is a very dumb phone, it’s gotten to the point that I do not even try to answer it any more. I figure that if it’s important, people will leave a Voice Mail message—and those I eventually check.

Such a pity that the hucksters wind up killing all the new technologies.