Email is broken. There’s too much of it, no one can agree on how to use it, it’s too easy to send, which encourages a glut of CYA CCing, and there are spammers. Online IT Degree (which is apparently the real name of a real website) has ventured into this fray with a lighthearted flowchart, designed to help you decide whether it’s really worth sending an email.
It’s a losing battle–we learn that right up at the top. According to Online IT Degree, Atros, a company that banned email, has managed to only reduce its email volume by 20%. That’s with a ban! What can we mere mortals hope to accomplish?
We have some quibbles with the decision tree. The first question is “Are you at work?” and if you answer “no,” then the chart leads to “okay.” No! Not okay. Heartwarming PowerPoint forwards are never okay (confidential to our relatives: We love you very much). Further down, there’s weird ritual advice like implementing a “No Email Friday” policy.
But there are some good considerations there too. Poorly written subject headers remain the bane of our existence, to say nothing of the ongoing river of pain that is CC abuse. For a more thorough and thoughtful take on when to send email, we recommend Seth Godin’s checklist (forlornly titled “(maybe this time it’ll work!)”).
Here’s the sick thing. If we know the Internet (and we think we do), we can confidently say that this infographic is going to get shared all over the place. Via email.