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September 10, 2007

E-mail is a great tool and it's making you nuts. Call me.

I remember when I first got e-mail, back in the mid-1990s. I would rush home with great anticipation and dial in my 4800-baud modem and I would have...four messages from four very good friends....Now, of course, I get up in the morning and go to my computer and have sixty-four messages, and the anticipation I once felt has been replaced by dread.

--Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, in Afterword to 2002 edition, 274 (Little, Brown and Co.)

I receive between 70 and 90 non-spam e-mails a day. I write about half that many. And as it's been five years since he wrote the above, Gladwell surely gets more than 100. It's a mantra now that communications technologies save time and resources--including saving bucks on employees and brick and mortar rents. It's all true, exciting, Yankee innovative-cool and--a word film actor William Hurt uncannily slips into so many of his lines over the years--"evolving."

See Me, Feel Me, Call Me. But what happened to voices, vibes, faces, bodies, winks, hand gestures, touching another's hand or shoulder impulsively, stares, grins, frowns, hand-written thank you notes, human electricity, NOT-typing, non-virtual joking, yelling, ragging and flirting, occasional confrontation, intimacy and the "god-in-the-room" magic that starts with two breathing humans in one real place. Not to worry. I promise to partially remove my head from my wazoo, and not to start renting "Places in the Heart", wearing lavender dress shirts or asking how did something make you feel. Just think about it. But don't text or e-mail me after you're done. You can call, though. I'm real busy--but I think, talk, plan and listen with you better when I'm not striking keys. Signed, Friend of Ned Ludd.

Posted by JD Hull at September 10, 2007 09:59 PM


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