If you use Gmail as your primary email provider, you had a problem yesterday. Gmail went down for a lot of the day. From the thunder reverberating around the web, Twitter, and elsewhere, one would have thought the digital world had ended. Strangely, I use a Gmail account for my personal mail and never noticed a thing since I was accessing that mail via Blackberry yesterday. Aside from yet another example of how these machines are evil, sentient beings, the outage raises a bigger point in my mind.
Why have we become so damn dependent on voiceless, emotionless communication (you can read that as speed) over personal interaction? Were the phone lines down too yesterday? I get the problems with sending electronic documents without email. Even hear of a fax machine? Obviously, between IM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other ways business people and their partners and clients connect these days, email is just one part of the communications matrix. The Gmail accounts were accessible if one configured another client such as Thunderbird to access it. Even iGoogle worked to read it in some cases. Panic ensued, nonetheless. I want my Maypo!
What I’d really love to know is how much email goes back and forth between people who are physically proximate? I could never understand why people who sat 30 feet from one another were emailing (or IM’ing) rather than interacting as people. Pick up the phone and SPEAK to a client – what a concept! Walk down the hall and find a co-worker! OMG!
Your business is the relationships – both internal and external – that you have. The technology is there to help those relationships, not to replace them. If the tech goes away, the relationship doesn’t, hopefully. Maybe we ought to have one day a week without email on purpose – we might be amazed how much closer it will being us to our partners and customers.