Once upon a time e-mail was a simple uncomplicated affair. It was a fantastic tool for sending out and receiving communications in "almost real-time". We put up with those slow 64k dial-up modems. After all, this was state of the art hi-tech. Even with these
delays this new fangled "e-mail" beat the pants of regular snail-mail.
Somehow, perhaps because e-mail was technology based, many of us, who in the normal course were terrified of putting a real pen to a real sheet of paper, were turned into regular e-mail fans. We became addicted to this new way of communication.
Of course, as with any other communications medium, advertising soon got into the act. Advertisements, special offers, promotions, and all other sorts of rubbish got into our e-mail boxes too. "Junk-mail", so familiar our real-life mailboxes got into our
e-mailboxes as well.
However, unlike its original physical manifestation that came via snail-mail, which had to be physically trashed, virtual junk-mail could be blocked, isolated or trashed by a host of automated devices - so-called technology solutions. Blacklists, Spam filters,
Verification processes; you name it, someone has invented it.
The pity is that none of this system based e-mail protections really work as they should. To make matters worse, we human users act like sheep, and trust these so-called solutions implicitly. After all, can they really go wrong?
Our trust in these processes has become overarching that these technology based solutions are beginning to kill regular e-mail communications in a really big way.
Genuine e-mails don't get through. Legitimate business communications are blocked. Vital documentary attachments are deleted or rerouted to some silo that requires the actions of some techie to release. What should have taken seconds to complete is now
back into the "days" category once more, especially if your Systems Administrator just happens to be on a course (what, another one?).
We have become prisoners of the systems that were supposed to protect us.
And all the while, the real junk still seems to make it into my Inbox, each and every day.
A case in point - my firm regularly bills clients for services rendered using e-mail. We send out PDF invoices. Its fast and its efficient and highly cost effective. Or at least it used to be.
Recently, after sending out one such invoice, which remained unpaid some three weeks later, we sent out our regular e-mail reminder. No response. A second reminder; still silence. Finally, a phone call had to be made. Given that the parties are some 4,000
miles apart this exercise was now starting to get expensive. And where were the missing e-mails? In the recipient's Junk-Mail of course.
I rest my case.