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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 15-Aug-08


Friday 15-August-08

Ten thousand emails

I randomly went back the other day and looked at how many emails I have sent since I started using Outlook in 2002. The number had just passed 10,000. This is home email, I'm talking about, not that at work, which is probably up to ten times more. And when you factor in emails to distribution lists, you can multiply that again. Then look back to former years -- I've been using email since the 1980s. Overall, I bet I've sent over a million emails so far.

So have I changed the world? Probably not, but maybe some of the messages have helped others change. Persuasive talk also has an effect on the talker, so maybe  also some have also changed my mind. Many, however are gentle chit-chat with friends, sustaining networks and my sense of identity.

The world is powered by communication and the internet is a marvellous facilitator. Of course it's also an intrusion and much abused by spammers. Used well, email is a powerful persuader, but often it is poorly used and the lack of accompanying body language makes it a potentially poor medium.

I saw a splendid little quote recently: 'Remember: your inbox is not your to-do list.' True, but often forgotten. We are sometimes so driven by the immediacy of email that we forget the more important things in our lives.

Overall, email is a blessing and a curse. I have send many and received many more. The ultimate test is perhaps whether, if I had a magic wand, I would do away with it altogether. On reflection, I think not.

Your comments

Have you ever considered how many messages you get a day or a year from advertisers in all its forms and mediums (TV, Print, Billboards, Internet, etc)? In particular how they suggest to you how uncool, imperfect, inadequate, insecure, unfashionable, in the wrong place, not having the right tasting foods, not in the right place, tired, depressed, unfulfilled, etc, you are? These messages must have so affect one's self esteem and mood, or at least subconsciously, when bombarded with them constantly on a daily basis? I make this comment as I recall hearing a lecture once where the speaker made the remark about the terrible effect this must be having on young people as they are probably getting at least 20,000 messages like this a year or more.

-- Colin

Dave replies:
Indeed, Colin. Everything has some impact, and advertising does often use negative tensions. There again, we are remarkably adaptable and we can become immured and numbed by it all. Like with news, drama and video games, where scenes of horror, once sickening become bland.
It is perhaps also interesting how each is affected in very different ways.

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