Originally published in The Clarion | April 21, 2010
Never before has communication been as prevalent and important than today. Smart phones allow us to talk, text, email, update our social networking profiles and send pictures or videos with absolute ease. Technology has changed so quickly in the last couple of decades it is almost impossible to understand how we lived our lives in the 1990’s, nevermind decades before then.
Electronic Mail – email – has become not only a convenient means of communication but a detrimental one for most everyone in the business world. Gone are the days (and I remember them vividly) when receiving an email message from a friend or relative was the highlight of one’s day. Today, without a viable email filter, odds are good that you delete more email without even reading it than you receive legitimately. Welcome to the world of SPAM – unsolicited email.
Why the word SPAM for unsolicited email? I had no idea so I looked it up. Turns out it’s an acronym (although I have my doubts it began life as an acronym) – “Stupid, Pointless Annoying Message” – I could not have said it better myself. Reports vary saying that anywhere between 90% and 95% of all email sent today is SPAM. Unbelievable – or is it?
I have a deep and intimate dislike for unsolicited email. I also have a remedy, although I am confident it will not be a popular one. If I am ever asked by the powers-that-be how I recommend we put an end to unsolicited email messages, my answer will be a simple one. Charge individuals a nominal fee for each and every email message they send. I hear the boo’s across the horizon already. Either way, I feel this method would work.
Americans have paid a fee (we won’t discuss the nominal aspect) to send messages for over two centuries. In many ways, snail mail and email are very similar. The composer uses a transport medium that delivers his message to the recipient. It all comes down to how important it is that your recipient gets your message. In other words, how valuable is the message you are wanting to send? I have an idea that most of our sent email messages wouldn’t be near as important or funny or clever if we had to pay for each one we sent. Will my idea ever come to fruition? I doubt it, but a life with zero unsolicited email messages sure would be a pleasant one….