Those who don’t read this blog (you, my friend, are in a rarified crowd) aren’t aware of my antipathy to tech for tech’s sake. Many people mindlessly go after the latest technology without stopping to think of the consequences. I was reluctant to get a cell phone. Not a decade ago I got along fine without one. When I finally succumbed, I found I didn’t use it much. I still don’t. Nevertheless, many have charged ahead. It’s not the first time I’ve been let behind. I recently wrote about an organization I joined that unilaterally decided to make all members sign up for Slack. “It’s better than email,” they said. What they didn’t say is that it doesn’t replace email. In fact, what it does is gives you yet another communication medium you have to constantly check. Why?
Not that long ago—a year or two perhaps—it was recommended that you ask people what their preferred form of communication was. Phone call? Text? Email? Well, my cell phone plan charges by the call and text so please don’t use that. My preference, since about the last century, has been email. I check it regularly and I respond as long as emails don’t get buried by others on top of them. What did my organization do? Went to Slack. How long, I ask, will it be before advertisers and others figure out how to do the Slack stack? How long before a new technology (giddy giggle) comes along and we all have to do that instead? I’ve lost track of the number of software packages and apps I’ve had to learn for work. Several dozens at least. What suffers? The content does.
Now I get three or four, or nine or ten Slack notifications a day, through my email. (My computer has no room for a nw app.) It has compounded the premature burial issue I’ve got. That email that arrived just yesterday is now on page two. When will I have time to navigate to it? I guess I’ve been slacking off. So now I check my email to see if there’s another system that I have to check to find out someone wants to contact me. I miss the days when humanity drove communication instead of technology doing it. Learning some new system isn’t always the solution to complex problems. Or at least we can find out the preferences of the individual before making them learn (and probably eventually forget) a new communication system. It seems to me that we should be spending actual time on the content of the communication itself instead of playing with new toys.