By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 25, 2007; A01
Last month, venture capitalist Fred Wilson drew a lot of attention on
the Internet when he declared a 21st century kind of bankruptcy. In a
posting on his blog about technology, Wilson announced he was giving
up on responding to all the e-mail piled up in his inbox.
"I am so far behind on e-mail that I am declaring bankruptcy," he
wrote. "If you've sent me an e-mail (and you aren't my wife, partner,
or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over."
College professors have done the same thing, and a Silicon Valley
chief executive followed Wilson's example the next day. Last
September, the recording artist Moby sent an e-mail to all the
contacts in his inbox announcing that he was taking a break from
e-mail for the rest of the year.
The supposed convenience of electronic mail, like so many other
innovations of technology, has become too much for some people.
Swamped by an unmanageable number of messages -- the volume of e-mail
traffic has nearly doubled in the past two years, according to
research firm DYS Analytics -- and plagued by annoying spam and
viruses, some users are saying "Enough!"
Those declaring bankruptcy are swearing off e-mail entirely or, more
commonly, deleting all old messages and starting fresh.
E-mail overload gives many workers the sense that their work is never
done, said senior analyst David Ferris, whose firm, Ferris Research,
said there were 6 trillion business e-mails sent in 2006. "A lot of
people like the feeling that they have everything done at the end of
the day," he said. "They can't have it anymore."
So some say they're moving back to the telephone as their preferred
means of communication.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Fred Wilson is late turning on to this
idea of 'writing off' his volumes of spam/scam/legitimate email and
'declaring bankruptcy'. I have been employing this tactic for more
than a year now, as have many of you who like myself choose to toss
mounds of email each day with no further inspection of same. Unlike
Fred, however, I still make a feeble attempt to sort through it all,
which is not easy when the ratio of spam/scam to legit mail is about
95 percent spam. The stuff the bots say is spam is treated as such,
and tossed unread. The stuff the bots are unsure about, is given a
cursory examination by myself; if it is a (subject) thread I recognize
or a user's name I recognize, I pass that on; then I scan through the
remainder. The reason I scan through the remainder of the stuff the
bots are not sure about is because I feel I have that obligation as a
newsgroup moderator; if I was not responsible for a Usenet newsgroup
then I would probably do like Fred, and pitch all that as well. PAT]