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Could You Do It? IBM Employee Cuts Email Use by 98 Percent


"The truth is, email is outdated."

It's Monday and for many -- those working on Martin Luther King Day -- the emails have been flooding in. One IBM employee who knew all to well the feeling of dread when he opened his full inbox, decided to cut the cord four years ago.*

According to Wired, before Luis Suarez began been using a technique that he says cut his inbox levels by 98 percent, he was getting at least 40 emails per day that required response and would often result in email back-and-forth.

Wired reports that Suarez didn't get rid of his inbox all together and that he still gets emails. Although, now checking email only takes up two minutes of his day and most of them, Wired states, are meeting notifications. Here's how he does it:

[...] for the most part, when people write him, he answers via social media and suggests that they’d be better off chatting via Twitter, Google+, or on Connections, IBM’s internal social network. The idea is that if more of his communication is in the open, he’ll spend less time communicating.

Luis Suarez is an extreme case. But he nicely represents the tech world’s gradual migration away from e-mail and onto social networks and other services. For many, services such as Facebook and Twitter have replaced e-mail, at least in part. Facebook has introduced e-mail addresses to encourage its more than 800 million users to keep their communication on its site, and even an old school tech giant like IBM is moving in this same direction.

Suarez may be the most famous IBMer to drop off the e-mail treadmill, but he isn’t the only one. He reckons that there are still several dozen colleagues who have done the same thing.

Wired reports Suarez as saying that he has felt more productive with his new method of communication in the last four years and that its "more public, a lot more open and a lot more transparent."

Wired reports Molly Graham with Facebook's mobile group as saying 80 percent of subject lines for email are "hey", "hi" or nothing at all. She said, "The truth is, email is outdated."

IBM colleagues are not the only ones stepping out of email though. Wired reports that Atos, a technology services firm, hopes to do away with email by 2014 and Volkswagen is going to turn off BlackBerry email to some workers in off hours.

*Author's note: Here's an inside example from The Blaze of how bad email back-and-forth can get. Last week, The Blaze writers located in DC decided to come out of their home offices and Starbucks holes and meet up, since most of us work from home. You would think that such people who are glued to their computer for many hours a day, and communicate with other Blaze staff via G-chat, could have coordinated their meeting in a similar efficient fashion. Instead, the four involved took 20+ emails to work out a time, place, etc. Sound familiar?

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