Photo: williamhartz on flickr
Email is the new symbol of overload in our culture.Studies show:
- It stresses you out.
- It can degrade social skills and even turn you into an arsehole.
- People lie more via email.
- Spam wastes 20 hours of your life every year.
Despite all of this, ironically, you may find email more addictive than tobacco or alcohol.
So maybe it’s not ridiculous that some have speculated that technology is tearing us apart.
But studies also show that:
- Technology and the Internet have made you happier.
- Web breaks make you more productive.
- Rapid computer based communication is what makes the best stock traders the best.
- Compulsive internet users have happier marriages.
So is it email in particular?
I doubt it.
We just weren’t designed to do the majority of our communication so abstractly.
There has been similar speculation about Facebook and I think the same results apply to email:
The results were unequivocal. “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.” Surely, I suggest to Cacioppo, this means that Facebook and the like inevitably make people lonelier. He disagrees. Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. “If you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact,” he says, “it increases social capital.” So if social media let you organise a game of football among your friends, that’s healthy. If you turn to social media instead of playing football, however, that’s unhealthy.
Make sure that your relationships (business or personal) have a strong face-to-face component as much as possible.
Seeing friends and family regularly is worth an extra $97,265 a year.
If you’re fighting a clogged inbox, I recommend Inbox Zero.
And if you’re trying to waste less time on the internet, the first step is to get more sleep.
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