If you are serious about social business and reducing the technostress on your staff and customers, do yourself a favor and make a commitment to go on an email diet in 2012.

Need a great reason why? How about this:

33,024. UNREAD. EMAILS. My jaw hit the floor in disbelief as the number sunk in. How does one amass that many emails? Sign up for every newsletter on the planet? Play 700 simultaneous games of Words With Friends?

As some of you may already suspect, a huge majority of these were emails on which I had been Cc'd and Bcc’d because someone, somewhere, thought it was important. Then pops up YET. ANOTHER. EMAIL.

A huge chunk of this insane amount of unread emails are notifications from tools and workflow systems. The phrase, “check your email,” takes on a whole new meaning when what should be a seemingly routine task could consume the better part of a month.

Email is Not the Solution

Let me give you a concrete example:

You are developing a new add-on for SharePoint that requires you to engage a team of end users in your office, the systems integrator who designed it, an offshore team of testers and quality assurance to make sure that everything works properly. Here are some of the emails I’ve seen around similar projects:

Did you see the new changes? New changes where? On the site? Did you Cc Bob? OH NO, we forgot Bob! What do they mean by “broken"? Do you have the Skype info for the customer? Did you save the VM state? What compiler did you use....

And so on.

The entire process around pre-production is almost totally reliant on email not only as a communication tool, but also for project management, task tracking and feedback. In other words, it sucks.

Just Say "No" to Ccing

At CloudShare, we use tools like Chatter, Zendesk, and Google Apps to try and cut down as much as possible. Chatter has created a social stream like Facebook, Zendesk allows us to track and respond to support queries, and Google Apps is our chosen platform for instant messaging and collaboration. None are perfect, but we are seriously trying to cut down on our internal volume of messaging, in addition to using social tools within our own applications like sharing and collaboration to help out testers.

While the end of email is probably as far away as the paperless office, you can still be part of the solution, and take steps today to cut down on how many people you CC on emails.

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