Friday, July 23, 2004

The theatre of e-mail bakruptcy

"Dear person who sent me a yet-unanswered e-mail, I apologize, but I am declaring e-mail bankruptcy."

According to this article on Wired, that is the response you receive when e-mailing Internet legal visionary Lawrence Lessig.  Because of the sheer volume of messages that Lessig receives, he determined that he would never be able to adequately answer the vast majority of his e-mail, so he declared "e-mail bankruptcy."

"E-mail bankruptcy" makes sense if you consider the following:

  • Potential e-mail recipients are creditors.
  • The creditors cannot be responded to by their due date (a reasonable period of time for a response).
  • Lessig is late or has not "paid" his creditors.

So is this whole thing just a publicity stunt?  Maybe a little bit, but it does highlight the massive problem of sheer e-mail overload that a lot of us deal with.  I personally have 3 Ureach addresses, 2 Gmail addresses, a work address (this one generates the majority of my daily e-mail), a Blackberry address (for those of you that did not know, even though you get your work e-mail on your blackberry, it does get a default direct address assigned by the service provider | luckily no one except me and the IT department know what this address is), and a number of Hotmail accounts that I used to use as throw-away accounts for registration.

From the article:

"Public figures and senior managers are going to get a lot of e-mail, and the traditional solution for them is you have secretaries . . ."

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