Communications before the digital age:

– People wrote letters and postcards. They didn’t overdo the writing because it took some time and their fingers got tired. Also: putting things in writing at a slow pace allowed a person to discover that he or she really didn’t have much to say. So ... never a lot of letters to deal with.

– People dialed you up on their rotary phones. It took a little while and a person had to actually talk to someone if they answered, so it had to be worth it (unless they were pulling some prank, like, “Is your refrigerator running?”). Plus, a person had access to a phone only if they were at home or at the office or had a phone booth handy. So always a fairly reasonable amount of calls.

– People drove or walked from somewhere to talk to someone in person. That was a big time and energy thing ... I didn’t get that many people coming into the office to see if I would assign a reporter to a story about something happening three states over.

– In the office, without email and various types of messaging, people got up and walked around to talk to each other. Or they yelled. It was a little disruptive and if they did it too much their throats got sore, so ... limited time drain coming from the vocalization department.

Email: No limits. No rules. It’s not even the fastest, most hassle-free way to send a message anymore ... but it’s still a monster.

Problem 1: Too many emails because it’s too easy to send an email.

Problem 2: You never have time to get to them all.

Problem 3: The emails that you don’t want to see take almost the exact same amount of time to sort out as the ones you really should pay attention to.

Problem 4: No matter how hard you try to keep up, some of them just go old and moldy ... there’s no good way to explain it to the sender, so you get depressed...

Problem 5: When you get depressed about your email conundrum, you might decide to take a stand, once and for all, and just clear out all your email to the “save” folder you’ve created that you swear to creation you’ll get back to later.

Problem 6: You also swear that you will keep your in-basket clean ... as soon as something comes in, you’ll either respond right away, forward it right away, delete it right away, or sort it into a folder so you can pretend like you’ll get to it later.

Problem 7: Problems 5 and 6.

I took some time to be out of the office recently. I dedicated part of that time to dealing with my email disaster. At 1:08 p.m. Monday: I had no mail in my “new mail” folder. (OK, I cheated, finally, and moved a few hundred emails into the “save” folder, but my “new mail folder” sure looked nice and empty. Until the next morning: another 40 ... 60 ... 80...

Problem 8: Now I’ve become my grandpa, griping about fancy new stuff.

Thanks, email.

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Thumbs Up: The Tri-County African-American Alliance and AME Church and partners are organizing and populating Black History Month with a number of meaningful events, starting with a block party today (Saturday) from noon to 6 p.m. at 115 Fifth St., Marysville. We appreciated this quote in a Friday Appeal story from organizer Nyati-Melissa Cleveland:

“It’s a fun way to celebrate unity and the upcoming celebration of black history. It’s not just about us (black people), it’s for everyone to celebrate. There aren’t a lot of ‘us’ in this community, but events like this show us that we’re not alone. The more people who get involved, the better.”

 

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Ugh: More “humor” from a bowling alley buddy:

– Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

– How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

– In the winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when we complained about the heat?

– Statistics show that one of every four persons suffers from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re all OK, then it’s you.

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