Following my post last night about the irony of "addicting" social media, I ran across this piece asking "Is email evil?" It poses the Kevin Kelly-like question, what does email want?
This, I think, is what email wants most people to feel: powerless. It wants this because, in the end, it’s not so much a physical technology as a set of assumptions and laws encoded within the tools we use every day. Until the laws themselves change, all the good intentions in the world count for very little. And laws don’t tend to change until enough actual lawmakers take an interest…. But if enough bosses, gurus and digital law-makers can manage to think outside the inbox, we can at least hope to contend with lesser evils.
Again, while there's some argument to be made about dopamine squirts and hyperbolic time discounting, I think this is right on. When I've interviewed people about their email use, and what makes it difficult for them to put down their Blackberries, the biggest obstacle is the expectation on the part of bosses or clients that they always be available. And as I said last night, "with the right behavior we can improve each other's habits."