Do We Still Need E-mail?

Do We Still Need E-mail? by David Whelan That was the general question I asked in my first posting on the pan-Canadian law and information blog known as Slaw. I’ll be contributing a column under the title “Working Tech” every two months. This first one included a number of ideas I’ve had floating around in the back of my head, not least of which was how or why would I want to use a technology like Twitter?

The post is available here:  Do We Still Need E-mail?

As one tweet pointed out, the spoiler is that the answer is yes!  But even that’s not really enough of an answer.  There are numerous add-on products to make you more efficient using e-mail.  There are loads of service providers trying to secure, store, and retrieve lawyers’ e-mail as well.  I’m not sure all of that is necessary.  Just as e-mail is a fantastic tool for asynchronous communication, it is probably acceptable without all of the additional complexity.  Lawyers who need the additional complexity may want to consider whether e-mail is how they want to be communicating . . . whatever they’re communicating.

I’ve got a Twitter account but since I spend most of my days either in a Twitter-forbidden work zone or on the train, I have never spent much time using it.  I’m averse to using wireless phones or devices that require me to type on a wee keyboard.  So all in all, Twitter and other microblogging tools have not entered my portfolio. 

E-mail, when used well, is an easy way to have a concise discussion on a direct topic.  Telephone calls require a lot more social grease and time (often wasted, in my opinion) to get the same amount of information.  The synchronicity of telephones raises the issue of voice mail, which is a profound waste of time and effort.  I tend not to leave any voice mail, preferring to hang up and send an e-mail to more concisely (for me and my recipient) communicate.

All in all, I’m looking forward to writing on Slaw and joining a community of contributors and readers for whom I have a great deal of respect.

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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.