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The Next Dinosaur: Email

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A funny thing happened at the office without my even noticing it. I realized that I’ve basically stopped using email. I mean, at least in the traditional sense. Now the majority of my emails at the office are the Basecamp notifications coming in, telling me that an issue is waiting on Basecamp that needs my attention. So instead of emailing a string of people, I simply click through to the job on Basecamp and make my comments there in an atmosphere where everything is tracked and all involved parties can see the various communications simultaneously.

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You would think that there would surely be other uses for email…office gossip, the latest lunch and happy hour plans, the occasional venting. But no, at least in this office, that is the exception instead of the rule. Because here, we are a bunch of Skype junkies.

I always thought Skype was just for those people who work from home but still like to see who they’re conversing with (when they’re not working in their pajamas). But at MIC, Skype has basically replaced email as a way of communication. Our project managers will walk to someone’s desk and tell them to get on Skype instead of telling them what they just Skyped them. That’s because Skype lets you include links to whatever project needs attention. And because of its instant-message immediacy, Skype raises the urgency level up a notch. If something can wait a while, fine to post on basecamp or email. But if something needs immediate attention, Skype does the trick.

Of course, now that I’m a regular “Skyper” and am hardly ever crafting messages on sad, old has-been email, I’m part of the exciting Skype chains that erupt at different points in the work week. This is basically when someone does a group Skype and it results in a flurry of icons and jokes. 

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I guess email isn’t the only thing to be replaced by Skype. It’s also replacing the chatter by the water cooler. Ah well, we may be losing some of that traditional face time, but we’re all still sharing a good laugh.