Email: Criminal Mind control or 'dry drowning'?
Fran Ponick is a speaker, author, commentator, teacher, and...
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2012 – Once upon a time, long before the beginning of the twenty-first century, you could go to bed pretty much content that the day’s to-do list was mostly done. What you didn’t get to that day you could do tomorrow.
Some people even said, “I’ll sleep on that,” on their way to making a decision. (Correction: their decision-making process.) Most of the tasks on a project could be completed within a specific time frame, and most projects had beginnings, middles, and endings. Even World War II, thank God, had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
In those days, if you drowned, you usually drowned in water, and 1200 people didn’t get Tweets about it 10 minutes later.
Today, traditional boundaries between work, school, and home have all but disappeared. Now there’s no room to breathe, much less think. It never quits. We’re not treading water; we’re treading information. We can’t think; we can’t breathe.
We’re dry drowning. Dry drowning has many causes, but it always means you can’t get air. It means that, for some reason, you can’t breathe.
No Email? What a Concept!
I recently watched an interesting episode of the CBS-TV series, “Criminal Minds.” Dr. Spencer Reid, portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler, is a baby-faced genius with three Ph.D.s, and a Supervisory Special Agent on the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. Reid has an IQ of 187, reads 20,000 words per minute, and possesses an eidetic (photographic) memory. He’s been a main character on the show since 2005. But it was only last week I found out that the brilliant Dr. Reid doesn’t have email.
Oh. My. God. I spent the rest of the show with the phrase “I don’t have email” zooming around inside my brain like a crazed hummingbird. And I thought about life before email. It was pretty quiet then. Not a lot going on unless you opened a newspaper or turned on the TV.
And then, how fascinating it was in the late ‘70s to send and receive messages we typed on little white command lines with black screens on massive, wired-up, monolithic terminals courtesy of ARPAnet! How thrilled we were. The energy! The possibilities! Infinity in communications at last!
As time marched on, we managed our email with a combination of curiosity and pride. Hundreds, thousands, and then millions of emails grew and blossomed into AOL. (“You’ve got mail!). Around this one-time Internet colossus, other email services split and budded, spawning frantically like frenzied amoebas.
There were endless discussions, online and off, about free vs. cheap vs. features. Some experts advised (and still do) that people use several email addresses, each for a different purpose.
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