Re: Choosing recipient of automatic replies
Barry Leiba <leiba <at> watson.ibm.com>
2002-06-03 17:28:43 GMT
> another part of the problem is probably that email has made it so
> easy to send messages that we now have to deal with too many messages
> - which is a clue as to why people "can't be bothered" to think about
> where to send replies anymore. offhand, I don't see how to fix this
Yes, exactly. A couple of years ago, we did an IBM Academy study on
e-mail, and as part of it we talked with some executive secretaries.
One question we asked was, "What's the biggest problem you have, or
your principal has, with e-mail?", and the answer was "It's abused."
When we pressed for explanations, we found that the complaint was
1. Because it's so easy to send it, people send it... and the principal
is *flooded* with things that s/he never had to deal with before.
People used to say to themselves, "The VP is too important for us to
bother with this," when "bothering" meant calling on the telephone or
sending a paper memo. Now they say, "We'd better send this to the VP,
just to cover all the bases."
2. One thing many of us like about e-mail is that it's asynchronous.
One thing that executives (or, at least, their secretaries) hate about
it is that it's asynchronous. In the old days, if you called the exec,
and the exec was on the phone, well... you had to try again later. Or
you had to talk with Cerberus (uh, the secretary). Either way, it was
self-limiting. Now... you send e-mail and go on your way. So the busy
exec has that much more to deal with.
The result of the combination of these things is that most exec sec'ies
sort their principals' mail, a sort of triage, and the exec never