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Paul Jones’s #noemail experience

Paul Jones, now available email-free!

My friend and local Internet guru Paul Jones (the real one – accept no substitutes) has just completed three weeks of ignoring his email. No, he’s not stranded on some desert island and, no, he’s not ignoring people – he’s simply convinced that there are better ways to communicate than email. Paul is harnessing the power of social networking tools (Twitter, blogs, RSS, IRC, instant messenger), smartphones, and the old-fashioned telephone to fill the gap left by email.

I’ve been following Paul’s progress on this off and on but I don’t recall hearing of any “finish line” in this particular endeavor. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Paul leaves email behind for good. Maybe he has a point, and email is a wheezing relic from the past?

You can follow all of Paul’s “noemail” trials and tribulations (including some insightful commentary) on Paul’s blog.

  1. Heh. I got mixed up in the debate with him on The thing I really dislike about his approach is contacting him in writing now requires joining Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever. If I needed to write him, which of course I don’t as I don’t know him, I’d be irritated if Facebook was the primary channel. That’s not what Facebook was designed for, and in fact Facebook completely sucks at it! Email, for all it’s deficiencies, is still an open system. You can put a mail server in your living room and maintain control. Outsourcing all that to organizations that look at you as the product seems like a bad idea to me. I’ve had the same email address since 1998, and I see about 1 spam a week in my Gmail account. I just don’t see the horribleness of email the way he does.

  2. Gotta agree with @cod on this one: it’d be better to drop facebook, twitter, et al, than email, in my opinion.

  3. @Warren, have you read his reasoning? It’s very well thought out. And, no, you don’t need to use FB to contact him. You can leave a comment on his blog, you can IM him, you can sign up for a slot on his calendar and meet face to face if you want. His point is that email was his absolute least efficient method of communication and that’s why he dropped it. Personally, I wish him all the best and sometimes wish I could do the same.

  4. So, if you leave a comment on his blog what happens next? Do you have to remember to come back to the blog every day looking for an answer. Guess how I knew you just left this comment?


    He can manage his communications however he wants, but the idea that his system is a win-win is questionable at best. It might be easier for him, but it’s likely a PITA for anybody trying to contact him. Imagine if his ideas caught on and 75% of the people you wanted to connect with in a day did this. Just trying to keep up with who wants a FB message, who wants a blog comment, who wants a text, etc would be painful.

    Email isn’t perfect, but it is still the best system for one-to-one asynchronous communication that we have come up with.

  5. No, if you leave a comment on his blog, you can subscribe to the comments feed on his blog and check that for an answer. You can also come back to it if you want.

    I think you miss the point, though. He’s never said it was a “win-win”. However, from him it is a “win”. Whether or not it is for someone else is irrelevant. If you want to contact him or need to contact him you can. The point isn’t to make it easier for you to contact him but rather for him to be able to get the most out of his time.

    If most people in the world abandoned email perhaps we’d go back to actually doing things rather than just checking our email.

  6. You do realize that 85% of the people using the Internet right now have no idea what the phrase “comment feed” even means, don’t you?

    //The point isn’t to make it easier for you to contact him but rather for him to be able to get the most out of his time.//

    Yeah, I don’t really want to live in a world where consideration for others doesn’t play into the thought process at all. And BTW, I don’t think Paul is approaching this from a standpoint of selfishness. He sees this as a win-win. I just disagree.

  7. I use my email accounts as my launching portal for everything else: ticket updates, forum updates, blog comments, facebook messages, twitter DMs, etc.

    If I could get all of them *smoothly* loading into one unified Inbox, well: that’d be The Bomb™!

    The iPhone’s unified Inbox is a start – just need a client that’ll do it on Linux/Mac/Windows.

  8. Peace, Love, Understanding and #noemail Blessed Ones,
    As you read this, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will quit email someday. My name is General Paul Jones of Cote de Ivorie and I have need for partners to assist me, but it requires great trust.

    Working backwards.

    Warren – I’m going in exactly the opposite direction (see Q&A) email is not a good for aggregation. It’s antique technology that has been hacked, modified and transfigured in all the wrong directions. I do want something to present and aggregate activity streams and communications interactions. I don’t think email is that solution. I do however expect that stabs at that solution are forthcoming and that even a browser instance with a lot of tabs is a better solution than email. Seek something better, I beg you.

    cod – (fish or collect on delivery?) – I have placed myself in a risky position. I did this consciously knowing that the love would not be evenly flowing. Years ago I did this by telling people to email me (most of the 80s) instead of calling me (the single most disruptive timesink – greater than email). I have had the same email since the 80s. I don’t say you must use one way to reach me or another; I say you are free to choose what you think works best — this is the way of love. But my love has a limit, a single one, email is outside the bounds of my love. I have had an over 30 year relationship with email and I’m done, divested and nearly divorced.

    Attacks specifically on Facebook are a chimera. You don’t have to use that. Clear? Peace out.

    Tanner – Thanks for helping clear things up. May the love and trust flow for you unceasingly.

    Mark – Thanks for the article and for the support. Love is all you need.

    Mr. El Ibrahim, merchant in Tunisa and Dubai – Thanks for your help in writing the beginning of this comment. I hope you find the right person to trust with your considerable wealth. Understanding, love and peace.

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