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Hey! My love letter to email

This post is written in english because Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson announced the idea of Hey and asked to tell them how we feel about email. This is my answer.

It is easy to hate email.

Because it is so cheap to send emails, everybody is doing it. And because it is so easy to duplicate the content literally everybody is forwarding emails to everyone. If you look at the idea of email with an inbox of 424 unread messages you don’t see the idea email anymore. You see 424 unasked demands and it is nearly impossible to fall in love with email.

But the idea of email is so much more than 424 unread messages. The idea of email is the most concrete implementation of what you can call the internet-spirit. It is the magic of communication and connection with the world. Email reminds us that everything we today call „internet“ in the first place is about connecting computers, ideas und people. Nation, race, religion and all the stuff people tend to hold important for their identity does not matter when it comes to internet connection. The network is not interested in all this. It is interested in communication – no matter what kind of operation system you use, no matter how old or fancy your devices are. The pure fact that the Internet exists is the best proof for the value of human connection.

It is an ironic turn of fate that this network of connection today is used to polarize people. People with good and bad intention invert the idea of worldwide connection to promote their selfish interests. It is part of the ambiguity of the digital world that a great idea can lead to a less great outcome.

This is why people easily say: I hate the internet. Or: I hate email. But what they think to hate is not the idea of internet or email. They do not like the mis-use of the idea. And they are right. They do not like spam and hate speech, they do not like oversharing and phishing mails. But they forget to widen their view. They don’t see the big picture.

Email makes it easy to get back to the big picture.

Because it is so cheap to send emails, everybody is using it. And because it is so easy to use it everybody can understand the basic principle of email: there is no central station distributing your messages. You only need an @-adress and then you can connect. This is the magic and beauty of email: it works without all the Silicon-Valley-Buzz.

If you look at email from this perspective you can see 424 unread reminders of the greatness of the idea of email. 424 reminders that show us that we don’t need fancy group-chat when we can use a mailing list. 424 reminders to bring back the idea of RSS for example and emancipate ourselves from the power of the big platforms.

And this is why I like the idea of Hey.com to modernize the way we email today.

Additionally it reminds us that email is a great gift!

You can ask for an Hey-Invite by sending an email. And if you like to receive an email from me: this is my new international newsletter – is comes four times a year.

The Pleasures of Uninterrupted Communication

Email is my alpha and omega, my file-system and social register, my backup and my memoir. If I need to find a document, I don’t search my hard-drive; I search my email for the copy I sent to someone when it was done. I sometimes write novels on email, sending out the day’s pages to a mailing list of well-wishers who keep me honest, nudging me if I miss a page. Version control? Who needs it? Just find all the copies I sent or received and order them by date!

Cory Doctorow schreibt über The Pleasures of Uninterrupted Communication. Ärgerlich wenn sich der E-Mailserver genau dann verabschiedet, wenn man sowas liest und sich darin wiederfand.

In Kategorie: Netz