Internet-related Thought of the Day: E-mail is “Real Work”

Many folks complain about how their e-mail stacks up and gets in the way of their doing ‘real work.’ I think that this common refrain misapprehends the role that many of us have in the information economy: that of Information Factory Floor Workers. That is, one of the principal responsibilities many of us have is to deliver information in the right quantity, in the right manner, via the correct medium, and at the right time.

The metaphor might not be glamorous but there is real skill and judgment involved in this task. The infinite line of ‘information widgets’ coming our way down the e-mail conveyor belt may be daunting but remains (for the meantime) a key way that many of us provide value in an increasingly digitized world.

Deep internet-related thought of the day

Facebook and social media are undermining a wide range of literary skills but they are building others such as, I would argue, certain kinds of contextual understanding.  I definitely feel that my ability to interpret a series of interspersed elliptical comments, and their relationships to each other has been enhanced dramatically over the past few years, from reading comment threads on Facebook.

I can imagine that one day, when social media is itself superseded as a common form of conversation (by, say, remote brain control), that there will be many pundits ruing the deterioration of the types of literary skills that I referenced above.  In other words, future generations may come to appreciate social media for the literary skills it promotes, rather than feeling despair at those it undermines.