We all know that many big tech figures hate email. Merlin, Dan, and Marco have all been pretty vocal about this, and I totally get it—they’re media figures in a way I’m not so they get flooded in a way I don’t. But I still maintain that email is the best medium for oh so many tasks if you’re a Regular Person like I am (at least for now, heh). But I’m clearly still swimming upstream; even my non-tech contact points prefer non-email communication. And sometimes, that drives me insane.
There are multiple families on my block who have cats and travel a lot. My husband and I have sort of become the go-to kitty sitters, but as the neighbors get more and more close to us friendship-wise, they’re more prone to just texting us their vacation dates and just dropping off a key whenever. This really, really doesn’t work for me. Like, those cats are gonna fucking starve doesn’t work for me.
When I receive a piece of information that absolutely requires a follow-up action on my part, I really want that to come to me over a medium that allows for robust customization. I want to star/flag/mark that shit unread, and I want to forward it to my husband so he knows too, and I want to have it potentially integrate with my calendar via that iPhone linked text event thingy (shit, now I’ve lost my technical audience. Sorry. You know what I mean.) so I can make sure that the necessary reminders and alarms happen so I will break my routine to see that your pets are cared for.
This is important. This is not fleeting. This needs to be delivered to me in a way that doesn’t disappear from my home screen if I answer a phone call. This needs to be “processed” in the Getting Things Done sense of the word. I care about your cats enough to be kind of a pain in the ass about this. But three separate households of older-than-me, less-technical-than-me neighbors all texted this request, and only followed up via email when I prodded them to. And even then they sort of maybe needed reminding to email, or an explanation why that medium was necessary.
Now, I can’t demand that level of communications catering in any social setting; I can only demand it when someone is asking a favor of me. I feel like in that context, it’s fine for me to dictate the parameters necessary for them to get that favor done. But I ALWAYS prefer an actual email if the subject isn’t something fleeting or immediate, and you know what? Bonus points if your email is old-school enough to contain a signature with things like your cell and even your land line in it. I still find value in that convention, and I hope it doesn’t go the way of Facebook because I really hate so much about this new communication era. (OK, I mostly just hate how the stupid graphical smileys Facebook inserts will never stop screwing with line height. Fine. There you have it.)
Neighbors, I love you. If you somehow happen to read this, I’m not like mad about you! I’m mad about the way communication is shifting in our entire culture to a way that I’m clearly not good at catching up with. Your cats are fantastic. Please feed ours in early June. I trust this blog post will be sufficient notice of this request JUST KIDDING OMG THAT’S A JOKE LOVE YOU GUYS. <3