Nothing gets my attention better, than when I read an online article asking me if I have an email addiction. In the article written by author JR Raphael of PC World, on Wednesday, October 15, 2008:
Raphael states that there are certain signs of an email addiction. He stated that people will check their e-mails more than once an hour, feel the need to respond to every message, and allow email to interfere with their regular lives. He made this seem like a bad thing.
Raphael’s article offered advice for dealing with email addiction. He concluded that there’s no such thing as an e-mail emergency, that people should give themselves a curfew for responding to emails, by scheduling e-mail response times. He further stated that people should set aside a “NO E-MAIL” day or take a vacation from emails.
I would love to follow this advice, and in some cases it does make sense. But, I don’t believe email is an addiction. And yes I know that I am a type “A” personality.
I’ve actually turned up the volume on my PC to hear when I’ve received an incoming email message, while I watched TV. What was interesting was that every time I received an email, it was more frequent than my phone ringing. Which leads me to conclude that this is modern way of communicating in our personal and professional lives.
My counter argument with not checking my email, is that it builds up. I am not just talking about spam or commercial emails. If I walk away from my personal and business email from family, friends and co-workers (who are up all hours of the day and night), within an hour, I can have between 20 – 30 messages, and that’s being generous. Not to mention, I have several email accounts to open and read.
And to Raphael’s analysis at the end:
“The final step may be the toughest of all, but it could make a world of difference: Put the damned Blackberry down. Turn your PDA off when you get home, or at least disable the instant e-mail checking function. Your messages will wait. Your life will not.”
I’d like to say to that, email and the internet is a part of our lives. It is my way of participating in my life. It is a new communications method within this global e-community. As Marshall McLuhan claimed in “Understanding Media”:
“Different media invite different degrees of participation on the part of a person who chooses to consume a medium. Therefore, the Medium is the message”
I don’t see email, as an addiction. Addictions comes from addictive personalities. Anything in excess is never a good thing. So, if I want to go outside for a run, I will. I interact with my family. I have outside hobbies. Just last week I took my kids to a Pumpkin patch for a hayride and pumpkin picking.
The point is, the e-community is a new extension of human communication, and it won’t be the last. Fifty years ago it was Radio and Television. A hundred years ago it was postal mail. I believe it’s made people more creative, more comprehensive, and more interactive. And I haven’t even talked about social networking.