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Hear No Evil, See No Evil — E-mail Kills the Phone 155

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what-no-shouting-over-cube-walls dept.
coondoggie writes to tell us that in a recent study e-mail has overtaken telephony as the most common workplace communication tool. "Research reveals that 100% of the end-users surveyed use e-mail, followed by fixed-line telephones (80%), mobile telephones (76%) and instant messaging (66%). The study points out the three most ubiquitous technologies increase productivity the most. Over 70% of the end-users surveyed say e-mail impacts positively on their productivity, followed by conventional fixed-line telephony (53%) and mobile telephony (52%). From a productivity point-of-view, the research shows that instant messaging, blogs and softphones are considered most disruptive, and could negatively impact productivity if not managed properly."
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Hear No Evil, See No Evil — E-mail Kills the Phone

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  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:18PM (#20299773) Homepage

    Research reveals that 100% of the end-users surveyed use e-mail

    Let me guess. They did the survey via e-mail.

    • by garcia (6573) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:23PM (#20299815) Homepage
      Let me guess. They did the survey via e-mail.

      We'll they're better off doing it that way then by phone. It's not like I answer my phone for any number I don't recognize.

      For just about anything I prefer chatting, e-mail, or any other electronic method as my time isn't 100% devoted to a single person. I can do 100 other things while responding to electronic messages. With a phone call my attention is solely with one person and that's just not a good way to operate for MOST functions of my day.
      • by efity (1044316)
        Hopefully you're not opening a lot of emails from addresses you don't recognize, either.

        But I do agree with you there. If it's a number I don't know, it gets assigned as unimportant if I'm busy; I can check my voicemail later. A phone call could take anywhere from a minute to half an hour, whereas an email reply takes maybe a minute (although there may be more emails to send, one minute can be sacrificed here and there, but half an hour is too much time to devote to one nonessential thing).
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by garcia (6573)
          Hopefully you're not opening a lot of emails from addresses you don't recognize, either.

          Unfortunately it's the nature of my job.
      • by gmack (197796) <gmackNO@SPAMinnerfire.net> on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:01PM (#20300115) Homepage Journal
        I hate phones for the same reason I hate instant messengers. I don't like things that demand my instant attention and interrupt what I'm doing.

        If I'm working on something I can check emails when it won't affect my ability to get work done. If I'm constantly answering the phone I never get anything done.
        • by el cisne (135112)
          "I hate phones for the same reason I hate instant messengers. I don't like things that demand my instant attention and interrupt what I'm doing."

          Damn straight. Especially when it is for something trivial. I've gotten to where I hate the damn thing. Unless I'm calling someone else of course.... ;-)
          But still I try to get with them by email first and give them a day. That stupid phone is demanding, insistent, "interrupt driven", and if someone is calling me it better be good. And if their call is no
          • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:00AM (#20300959) Homepage Journal
            A few months ago my company came through the office and tore out everyone's regular phones and replaced them with super-duper Cisco VOIP sets.

            The things are crap (you have to sign into them every morning ... as if I don't have enough passwords to remember already, now I need to sign in to my freaking phone?) but they do have one upshot. If I just don't sign into the thing, nobody can call me -- the calls just roll right over into voice mail. And since my voicemails get emailed to me as attachments (where I can conveniently play them at faster-than-normal speed), I can basically ignore the phone handset and do everything through my PC.

            By my unofficial count, I'd say something like 30-50 percent of the office is doing the same thing, either intentionally or just because they can't remember to sign into the phones in the morning. I think it's actually boosted productivity -- nobody uses the phones to call around the office anymore, unless they've already sent an email or an IM to see if the person is available on the other end.

            Maybe they're not so bad after all...
            • by ahaning (108463)
              What happens if you dial 911 before signing into your phone?

            • Which model of phone are you using? We've got models 7912 and 7960 here. I don't recall them possessing any ability to require logins before functioning. We're a VOIP developer/provider and use our own SIP proxies and gateways, so that might make a difference. I know that we're not running the Cisco call management software.

              • by devilspgd (652955) *
                It can be done on the PBX, rather then in the phone... The sign in process is usually fairly simple, involves picking up and dialing *12, your extension and pin.

        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          That's why texting has become so popular... I rarely get or make voice calls for the reasons you state. OTOH I get texts all the time.
        • by garcia (6573)
          I hate phones for the same reason I hate instant messengers. I don't like things that demand my instant attention and interrupt what I'm doing.

          I use bitlbee for IM (I use GTalk and AIM primarily) and those don't interrupt me at all. In fact, they can sit there infinitely just like an e-mail if I choose.
        • How does an instant messenger demand your attention? I regularly put IMs in the background when I'm locked into an issue that needs my full attention.

          The only issue was the former cow-orker who would call me on the phone and when I didn't answer, would immediately IM "u there? i want to call".
      • by bryan1945 (301828)
        "my time isn't 100% devoted to a single person."

        Glad I don't work with you. Well, I don't know where you work, but I don't work with a bunch of people who waste my time. A few clients do this, yes, but hey, they're paying us a bunch of money.

        People have learned not to call me unless it's important.
    • I think if you add the landline and mobile percentages togther, you have 100% "Telephone" usage -- It's like asking if you get your e-mail "wirelessly" or "wired"...
    • Bullsh*t (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alcmaeon (684971)

      We are apparently supposed to conclude that 20% of the people in business do not have telephone service?

      I am guessing telephone service in business is 100% as well. Now, we could make a similarly arbitrary distinction between email gotten via pop3 through a desktop client and IMAP email gotten through a desktop client and pop3 through a web client adn IMAP through a web client and I bet all four of those would fall below land lines in adoption.

  • by Smidge204 (605297) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:23PM (#20299811) Journal
    I discussed this point with my boss once. I argued for e-mail:

    There may be a record (via phone company) of when a call took place, what number was dialed, and how long it took...

    ...but with an e-mail, all parties involved have a record of when it was sent, who received it, and what was said.

    That last part is hard to do with a phone conversation, legally anyway.
    =Smidge=
    • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:27PM (#20299837) Homepage

      ...but with an e-mail, all parties involved have a record of when it was sent, who received it, and what was said.


      which is why my manager at my last job would always call me, or stop by my cube or grab me as I walked by in the hall instead of email whenever she wanted to ensure that whatever idiotic thing she wanted done (the joys of being a network security guy) could not be traced back to her. But, I'd send her a note about it each time anyway. I like having my get out of jail free card. "just to verify, you wanted me to do $foo, and understand the implications, right?"
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:43PM (#20299963)
        I lost points on my last review because of my "over reliance" on email. And I'll probably lose points on the next one.

        Don't forget that in a lot of email systems I can tell when you've opened my email and whether you deleted it or not.

        Email is its own paper trail AND with magical CYA powers. And that really annoys a certain type of personality.
        • by afidel (530433)
          If you work for a publicly traded company or a business that's healthcare related then it is REQUIRED by law that there be a paper trail. There must be documentation of any and all system changes along with authorization from designated personnel. Next time your boss bitches about the paper trail just blame it on SOX/HIPPA and the auditors.
          • by SRA8 (859587)
            "If you work for a publicly traded company or a business that's healthcare related then it is REQUIRED by law that there be a paper trail. There must be documentation of any and all system changes along with authorization from designated personnel. Next time your boss bitches about the paper trail just blame it on SOX/HIPPA and the auditors."
            There is the law, and then there is corporate practice. Tell my boss about SOX and he is likely to have you fired before he starts documenting some of what they do.
            • by afidel (530433)
              Wow, I would be dropping an anonymous tip about my boss's behavior to HR and internal audit if I ever got it trouble for doing my job correctly.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by SRA8 (859587)
                Perhaps once i quit the firm. Anonymous is not really anonymous, as the circle of people who understand processes is quite small. It would be obvious I ratted him out if I did.
            • by GunFodder (208805)
              You're probably not too worried about the situation because when eventually there is a screw-up you'll have an audit trail and your boss won't. There's nothing like instant karma.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bzipitidoo (647217)

          Why do you put up with it? Not a company wide problem, deeply embedded in the culture, just one or 2 managers? But if that's all it is, why not complain about those managers? If it is the whole company, why stay? Is it that finding another job is hard, and a pain, what with maybe having to move? Job market is bad, despite what everyone is saying? Or, don't want the troubles that come with being a whistleblower? Or you aren't putting up with it, but you're not quite ready to move yet?

          One thing I rea

      • by ms1234 (211056)
        This is what I do with my developers. Why spend more or less a whole day on sending email to each other when the issue can be resolved in 5 minutes on the phone. After that I send an email to the developer stating what we talked about so that it is documented.

        When ever I get a new developer the first thing I tell him or her is that forget the email, call me instead.
    • by skoaldipper (752281) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .8rtslaoks.> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:35PM (#20299905)
      Email for instruction. Telephone for clarification. Remote VNC when the other two fail.
      • by rts008 (812749)
        Why is this modded funny instead of informative?

        even tho' it may seem funny, it is the reality in a lot of places.

        Wish I had mod points.
      • What happens when all 3 go over the very same T1 line, and it being down is the problem? I've always hated the idea of VOIP for this reason alone. It is unfortunate that putting all services over the same pipe gives you a single point of failure, because doing so is very convenient (until the line goes down)!
        • Who DOESN'T have a cell phone or land line independent from said T1 line? Do companies actually depend 100% on VOIP for all their telephony needs? I seriously have never heard of this, so if it is true, my ignorance..
    • by Rix (54095)
      Unless both parties are signing their messages, either side can edit them to their hearts content, and there's no way to prove who (if either) is being honest. Even if they are signing them, they can simply ignore your message and claim it was never sent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tftp (111690)
        In most cases email is difficult to bury. Aside from mandatory logging which any large company has to have, there are always backups. Besides, if there are multiple recipients of the email then it's very hard to convince the court that all of those unrelated and disinterested parties conspired to fake an email complete with reasonable headers etc. And if you keep mail logs then these headers can be checked against the log, and if there was a message sent then it's practically proven - unless it's a crimina
        • by Rix (54095)
          You can forge your own headers and logs. It's just text.
    • by toriver (11308)
      That last part is hard to do with a phone conversation, legally anyway.

      As I understand it, it's perfectly legal to record any conversation to which you are a party, as long as it's stated up front before any recording takes place. "This conversation may be recorded for quality purposes" in Direct Marketing and all that jazz.
      • by Smidge204 (605297)
        Right, because nothing says "I trust you" like openly recording your telephone calls. I suppose it'll work in the end though - nobody will even talk to you, so you don't even get involved in the first place.

        It's the Wally method of covering your ass!
        =Smidge=
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That it really didn't kill the phone. And the overlap between landline and mobile phone usage probably makes that 100% as well. And hundreds of millions of people get their email through a phone line using dial-up or DSL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      What is this landline phone you speak of?

      I refused to use chat for years, but for interoffice communications, its quicker than email, and better than shouting "hey, what's that url again?"

      • Sending URLs is a big benefit of IM applications in tech-heavy offices. Our mailserver has a rather significant lag (actually, not everyone in the office uses the same server, so sometimes it can be quick and other times 10-15 mins or longer), and hand-copying URLs leads to errors.

        Although something like TinyURL within the intranet would probably be handy (the IT security people seem to really hate it when people use the public one...), the way people were usually sending URLs around was just by pasting the
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          Its also great for "stalking" - most people have their IM client start up automatically when they boot their computer, so you know when they're in the office, even when you aren't.

          So what's with this "Online - Invisible" bit - who do they think they're fooling, marking themselves as "Online - Invisible"? Its like little kids who thing that because they can't see you, you can't see them. Hmmm, maybe its just a Windows thing ...

    • Can you point out these hundreds of millions of people still using dial-up? DSL is different, because you don't need an actual phone account to use a DSL line for internet connectivity.
      • by thebatlab (468898)
        And connecting to the Internet via DSL is not equivalent to communicating over the phone. Just b/c they use the same architecture, it doesn't make the end result the same. Just another person trying to poke holes in a story looking for a +5 Interesting.
  • I'm not shocked... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zakezuke (229119) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:25PM (#20299829)
    Let's say I wanted to ask someone a question, a simple question with no real need for an immediate reply. I send an e-mail. If I were to use regular phone, I have to deal with polite conversation which I may or may not have time for. Not that I don't mind idle conversation, it's just something I don't always want to deal with.

    Let's say someone was visiting me and there a traffic advisory, or something else they would need to index later. I would phone first, then text an instruction block to the phone. Same when grocery of component shopping.

    And messaging when someone is not around, e-mail is so much better than voice. Mobile phones are not always reliable to relay all the important words, and some people on land lines use really crappy answering machines, but an e-mail will always get the message out.

    E-mail is more important than phone these days. That's rather a fact of life. Welcome to the 21st century, where no one has to talk to anyone.
    • by Firethorn (177587) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:46PM (#20299995) Homepage Journal
      Let's say I wanted to ask someone a question, a simple question with no real need for an immediate reply. I send an e-mail. If I were to use regular phone, I have to deal with polite conversation which I may or may not have time for. Not that I don't mind idle conversation, it's just something I don't always want to deal with.

      I love email for this very reason. Somebody asks me a question over the phone, if I don't have an immediate answer ready I have to get their contact information. That can be a pain in the butt, especially if we have a bad phone connection(It happens).

      With email, if I have the info I dump it into the email and send it off to them. I even tend to keep a 'faq' listing for that very purpose(no, I don't make it public, because I'm supposed to be providing the 'personal touch', and customize the answers a bit for the customer's exact situation). If I need to collect it, no big deal, I have their contact information right there. It's in my queue, so to speak.

      Unfortunately, most of my answers require research at this point because I just shifted positions and am still learning my new job.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Let's say I wanted to ask someone a question, a simple question with no real need for an immediate reply. I send an e-mail. If I were to use regular phone, I have to deal with polite conversation which I may or may not have time for. Not that I don't mind idle conversation, it's just something I don't always want to deal with.

      I totally agree with the need for social talk on the phone, e-mail is often much more to-the-point, and that can take time.

      But then, e-mail is also much less personal. The "human touch" is gone. And I find that to actually make a deal, this human touch is a necessity. OK dealing with China that may be stronger than with Americans, still it's a very important part of human communication that gets lost in e-mail.

      In my business I find e-mail a great tool to get the first contact, followed up by a phone cal

  • obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:27PM (#20299841) Homepage
    From a productivity point-of-view, the research shows that instant messaging, blogs and softphones are considered most disruptive

    Probably because those three things are more typically used for personal reasons, not business reasons. It's not so much a problem with the tools, but the use. If they became more widely integrated into the workplace, they wouldn't be considered "disruptive".

    At any rate, if you have employees that are good at managing their own workflow, you don't have to worry about clamping down on "disruptive" technology.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I disagree; I think it's inherent to the technology. How could real-time communications such as phones and IM *not* be more disruptive than email? The other person is sitting and waiting for you to respond, and you know it. Of course that's disruptive.
      • by User 956 (568564)
        I think it's inherent to the technology. How could real-time communications such as phones and IM *not* be more disruptive than email?

        Because it's entirely telling that telephones are considered to be "productive", while IM is considered to be "disruptive". I've worked in an office where IM was used to great effect. not only can you have an almost telephone-quality conversation, but you can do other things that you can't to on the telephone, such as transfer files, communicate QUIETLY without having to
    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      Blogs? People actually use blogs as a means of person-to-person communication? Who reads personal blogs anyway? Reminds me a bit of this cartoon with two brides in a church and the groom saying to one of them 'didn't you get my e-mail?'. But instead it should read 'didn't you read my livejournal?'. That is, if there would be at least one livejournal blogger around that is emotionally stable enough to get married.
  • Reasons? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:28PM (#20299845) Homepage Journal
    People hate voice mail.
    It is easier to plan, revise and think-out email.
    People are nervous about speaking.
    E-mail leaves the ever-important trail to use against people later.
    You're already using the computer, so it seems like an extra effort at times to switch tasks to the phone.

    And this is the biggest supposition on my part, but it seems that people "look forward" to getting email, where as they feel annoyed anytime the phone rings.
    • Also, unlike a phone call/message, email can contain pictures, drawings, etc.
      Yes, I realize that that you can fax images but, having worked for a building supply company, an electronic image that doesn't get lost, crumpled or have coffee spilled on it is often much more convenient, especially since all of our ordering and pricing was done on computers.
      • Good addition. I should have thought of that.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        The most horrible thing about voicemail is sequential access. People leave a big long-winded voicemail and then finally mumble their phone number at the end. Then you have to listen to the whole thing once or twice more, it's a time-waster.

        Also, transcription (of anything, from phone numbers to prescriptions) is error-prone. With email I always copy and paste rather than transcribe, but voicemail obviously precludes that.

        • by peragrin (659227)
          I am hoping that the iPhone does one thing to the entire phone industry, and that is Visual voice mail. So you can just replay that one annoying message and not all of them.

          and no I don't own an iPhone. it's too pricey for me and I don't like AT&T edge enough to actually pay for it.
    • Re:Reasons? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by teh moges (875080) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:42PM (#20300403) Homepage
      What you said is true, but unfortionate in that it doesn't force people to learn how to speak to one another.
      You can't (at least, not right now that I know of) interview for a job by email.
      I always hate just emailing important things to other people. You can leave an email sit there, but you have to answer a phone call, or at least acknowledge that you know of the issue. An email can simply be discarded as "Oh, I haven't read that one yet". I prefer to phone to talk, and any important details get emailed. Any non-important issues are emailed, with a follow up call when they (invariably) haven't got back to me within a week.

      Maybe it is just where I work, but I can't rely on other people to read emails, despite it being corporate policy.
      • Closed email systems allow for read receipts, and I never understood why a standard for read receipts never caught on.

        I've worked for three major corporations, and all of them have been big on read receipts to track email, where as people can say, "oh, I didn't check my voice mail yet" just as easily as they can say they haven't read their email yet. However with a read receipt, you can verify if that is true.
        • Closed email systems allow for read receipts, and I never understood why a standard for read receipts never caught on.
          Because senders of unsolicited bulk e-mail use read receipts [wikipedia.org] to confirm that their messages are being read, a lot of user agents that are initially configured for use with public e-mail are also initially configured to ignore read receipts.
        • I hate when people slap "read receipt" on every email they ever send. It is disengenious for them to think they are so important that I have to read the "Mandatory Company BBQ Details" e-mail.

          If my boss can't depend on me to be professional enough to read my emails (i.e., do my job) without having to check up on me with email flags, then I don't want to work for that person.

          On the flipside, my employees (all less than 10 of them) are expected to use email. Ignoring email, or hiding behind "technolog

        • People who rely on these little flags lack management skills.

          All a "read receipt" tag does is confirm an e-mail has been opened. There is nothing confirming if it was read, understood, followed up on, etc; only management skill can do that. When I'm quickly going through hundreds of emails, I can easily open a "read receipt" email and quickly disregard it as not important and delete it without reading it.

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Hopefully it does force people to become literate, though... wait, no. I've seen emails from "coporate"[sic] types full of E.E. Cummings letter-casing, gross misspellings, grammar screw-ups (primarily homonyms), etc. They speak better than they write already. They're good at the bullshit when it doesn't have to actually be recorded and can be referenced. I don't mind the phone, but if you want anything you say to stick to me (and you), use email.


    • [VOICEMAIL]
      "Um. Hi. Yeah. How are you? I just wanted to call to touch base and see how you were doing. Give me a call when you get a chance. Talk to you soon. Buy."

      [Me]
      ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz

      [EMAIL]
      Hey, whats up?

      Email wins.
    • by jadin (65295)
      [Slashdot] Reply to Reasons? by jadin

      Here.. I'll help you with your next fix.
    • I used to hate voice mail because cell phones suck so hard that it is difficult to receive them and you gotta sit and listen through them all. With my new (shameless plug) iPhone though, that is a thing of the past. By picking and choosing which voicemail I listen to (or delete), I get the asynchronous-style communication of e-mail. I like to think of it as voice e-mail.

      Such a simple feature! Why hasn't EVERY cell phone done this before (or yet)?

      Oh and by the way, excellent post!

  • My opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:38PM (#20299927) Homepage Journal
    I gotta throw out my opinion here, with a bit of perspective from my last employer. Not everyone I worked with was nice. But the mantra was throughout the company, if you can't get them on the phone, hunt them down in person. So when someone got a bug up his ass about some issue, they would call my phone... over and over. You couldn't send them to voicemail... they would know right away you were there... so you had to wait out the three or four consecutive phone calls in hopes that they will just give up. But they rarely did. They would storm into my office ranting and raving about XYZ and they need ABC and whatever else they could complain about to keep me from my work. I honestly fought for an hour with a coworker (salesguy) that FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME STILL COULDN'T INSERT A PICTURE, FROM FILE, INTO A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION! And somehow this was my fault, because I was the computer guy. But I digress... anyway, even on the phone, they all went a mile a minute, giving me no time to think, no time to compose, nothing I could do where I could come out on top of that situation.

    For this sake I preferred email corrispondance. I could think, sometimes over hours, what I needed to say, and constuctively lay it out how the situation needed.

    But the old folks out there... the ones who insist I wear a tie, shine my shoes, shave my face TO SIT BEHIND A DESK, actually told me I was no longer allowed to respond to any issues of ANY kind via email. It had to be by phone.

    Seriously, welcome to the 21st century. It is the future. A better mousetrap has been made. Quit making me catch mice with a broomstick and a bucket.
    • by fat_mike (71855)
      They probably did that because they were emberassed by you grammar.

      You sound like the job is beneath you and its their fault. Dick.
    • by geobeck (924637)

      A better mousetrap has been made. Quit making me catch mice with a broomstick and a bucket.

      You had a broomstick?! I had to entice the mice into the bucket using a ball of earwax as bait! And after I caught them, I had to call the boss on our interphone system, making sure the string was pulled tight enough for him to hear me.

    • I honestly fought for an hour with a coworker (salesguy) that FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME
      I don't think it's good for your mental health to accept this kind of behaviour. Ask the guy to leave your office or when he won't do this, walk away yourself.

      Taking this kind of crap from people will create frustrations for yourself. Before you know it, you'll come home somewhat angry and vent it on the gf/wife. Not good!
    • Sounds like the problem might just be you and not everyone else. Seriously, your post has all the earmarks of the Saturday Night Live computer guy...someone calls for technology help (sounds like that is your job) and you get mad at them for not knowing how to do something computer related...."MOVE!"....

      Couple that with your unwillingness to shave for a paycheck? Seriously? Dude, you need to be self-employed, and not be in the business of helping people.

      To stay on topic, as an Instructional Designe

      • I know my original post was a bit over the top, but your reply isn't unique, but better layed out, so I am willing to reply.

        In the specific instance of this salesguy I pointed out... he had been with the company oh so many yeas more than me. Back when they didn't have a computer in the whole place. But he was one of the first to get one... after all technology can only help him, right? Wrong. From Office 95->98->2000->XP->2003 it is absolutely NOT ok to NOT know how to insert a picture from a f
  • Ugh, email (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @09:44PM (#20299973)
    Now don't get me wrong, email has its uses. However, I would MUCH rather use a phone for most day-to-day business activities. Here's why:

    - You're a lot more likely to get an answer in a timely manner if you call the person first, and THEN email them if they're not there, than if you just email and wait for a reply. I don't keep outlook open all the time because I find it a nuisance and it crashes all a time; phones don't crash usually.
    - It takes longer to write (and to read) an email than to make a phone call.
    - You don't get to show off your communication skills (such as bargaining) as much through email as you do on the phone.

    Of course, over both of these, I prefer to walk down the hall to the person's cube and talk to them in person, but that seems outdated these days.
    • Are you in sales, customer service, or management? These are the only positions I can think of where a phone call is more important. In sales you need to "show off your communication skills" by hawking your wares. People like email because they can delete you instantaneously, where it is harder (but I still do it) to hang up on you. If you are in Customer Service, most people expect to be stuck on the phone for an hour talking to multiple levels of people who either don't speak English or have no idea w
    • Not if you call me. Often as not, I won't answer the phone. My job requires concentration. Answering the phone has to be done *right now*, and thus breaks my concentration. Every time I have to answer the phone, I lose productivity.

      Perhaps you should 1) get an email program that doesn't crash and 2) learn to write well enough to show off communications skills in text.
  • Honestly-- I prefer being contacted at work via Instant message. We have an in house Jabber sever set up. Very convienent. It amazes me how many businesses have no problem using AIM or MSN Messenger to communicate at work when it is fairly straightforward to setup a jabber server.
  • since I'm in the "document" business, I'm seeing more and more people (thankfully) going from a fax, to using email. A lot of multi-function-printers (MFP) have the ability to connect to a network connection. You can scan to email, scan to fax and also reverse it, printing what needs to be printed, or, fax to a "fax email" box, which would be networked, passworded so the intended receiver has access to the fax. Look at the document, edit, forward, or print, or simply delete. Scan to email, obviously, is
  • Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:05PM (#20300147) Homepage
    Email is asynchronous. Also, for (legitimate) emails, it's a lot more time-consuming for the sender to type it (~40wpm?) than for the recipient to read it (~a few hundred wpm). It doesn't take as much time -- and can be saved for handy reference, too.

    I for one welcome our new SMTP overlords.
    • I for one welcome our new SMTP overlords.

      More probably, it's the new MAPI overlords you'll have to welcome.
  • by jfruhlinger (470035) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:10PM (#20300177) Homepage
    And by "kill" we mean "is used 25 percent more often than", according to one survey. But we might as well have a funeral now, right?
    • by Dahamma (304068)
      Yep, amazing. They lifted the already stupid title of TFA and managed to make it even more stupid by replacing the only accurate word ("overtakes") with "kills"... sigh.
  • I think the culprit may be that they divided fixed-line telephones and mobile telephones into two separate categories for the survey, but kept e-mail as a single category.

    If they had made a survey where the phones were kept as a single category but e-mail was divided into two categories (say a company sponsored server vs. a third party e-mail service like Yahoo) the results would probably have been reversed.
  • Pretty obvious... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ian123 (463722)
    Seems obvious that new tech will replace old tech. That said I still find that picking up the phone gets more done then an email. For the simple reason that people have to respond right away. It's simply harder (but not impossible) to stonewall.
  • fire is still hot, and rain is still wet... film at eleven.
    • by toriver (11308)
      This just in: Films still come at eleven. Watch our inquisitive documentary "But Which Time Zone?" right after these messages.
  • Research reveals that 100% of the end-users surveyed use e-mail
    Research? Is that some blogging site I've never heard of?
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:25PM (#20300287) Homepage Journal
    Email and IM are the tools of choice at work. The crappy voip phones in our office use meridian mail, which I can only surmise was designed as an enormous practical joke on how to make someone quit their job merely over the tools instead of anything strictly job related... and which was accidentally shipped.

    Our phones have this big red light on them when you have a voice mail waiting. Since somebody setup Meridian to ask you for a new voice mail password (one you've not used recently) every... what is it, 6 minutes?.. and since someone leaves me a voice mail once every 6 months.. invariably that light would come on and i'd have no way of getting it to shut off. Well, eventually I just unplugged my phone for a while and luckliy, when I moved desks and plugged it in, the light was gone. Now when people call me and try to leave voice mail, they get this horrible message saying this user hasn't setup their voice mail. Say it along with me in your best mortal combat announcer voice: "Flawless Victory!"

    In any case, my phone is effectively a 1 way device. I use it to make non-work-related calls, or to dial into conference calls that aren't using pc/ip based audio streaming.

    I'd like to dump the phone altogether and use a soft phone that integrates with an IM client. If I'm sitting at my laptop, we can communicate, and chances are, you'll try IM first.
    • by Kalriath (849904)
      Ugh. Meridian. I still haven't set up my voice mail after 9 months at my work. Everyone who calls just gets "This user is not subscribed to this service" (subscribed? wtf?). Funnily enough, I think my predecessor using the same phone on the same PC and same port did have voicemail, it just mysteriously died.
    • by dkf (304284)

      In any case, my phone is effectively a 1 way device.

      Smart move! I prefer to just tell people that they have the wrong number; our internal directory is enough out of date that they'll believe it and I only give out my number to external people that I really want to call me.

      I use it to make non-work-related calls, or to dial into conference calls that aren't using pc/ip based audio streaming.

      Having done a lot of conference calls the past few years, the main thing for them to work seems to be to have some sort of screen-sharing set up. Without that, life is painful. And IP-based audio streaming doesn't work too well with such systems alas: very few sites have enough bandwidth

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:05PM (#20300581)
    Wasn't there an article on /. a few weeks back that claimed that email was dead? So now email is alive and is killing the phone?
    • Actually, police now believe that it was a murder/suicide. Quite a mess.
  • by trb (8509)
    it says 100% email, 80% fixed-line phone, 76% cell phone. That adds up to 156% phone, or probably at least 100% or so. and as for the advantages of email vs phone, both have their grace. email is easier to manage and save. but if you're going to have a conversation involving give and take, face to face is better than phone, which is better than email.
  • What percentage do you get? Why not separate POP versus IMAP as different types of email since it's being done for telephony? My employer, for instance, has got rid of almost all fixed line phones and replaced them with WiFi-based mobiles so drawing conclusions about almost 0% of our staff using fixed lines would be misleading.

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