E-mail is Broken Let Turn it Into a Pay Toilet
People have stopped responding to their e-mail. Systems like Facebook aren’t the answer. One does exist, however.

I can’t necessarily say I predicted this, but I’ve certainly sensed it over the last few years. E-mail no longer works as well as snail mail. For whatever reason, I’m more likely to get a hold of a large percentage of the people I need to contact via the post office, rather than e-mail. E-mail is broken, but I have a fix.

I miss a lot of e-mail sent to me, because it arrives in the middle of the night. By the time I get up, there are 100 messages waiting for me. I like to answer all of the e-mail that I can, but I often miss important messages. And even though I’m running e-mail through Computer Tyme Web Hosting, which pretty much eliminates spam, my inbox is still full. It’s too much.

Dead E-mail Boxes

I’m not the only one who is swamped, apparently. I’ve taken over the booking chores for the Cranky Geeks Podcast, and it seems that there are numerous people who have given up on e-mail. You can e-mail them all day to no avail. The worst case scenarios are the various females we try to get on the show. Only one out of 10 actually responds to e-mail. People are moving their online communications to Twitter and Facebook.

I know for a fact that Mashable’s Jolie O’Dell wants to do the show, but I’ve never been able to contact her, despite the fact that I have her e-mail and Twitter accounts. She responds to nothing, despite being a tech-centric reporter. And I know she’s not ignoring these messages because women rarely have a problem responding to requests with the word “no.”

best online Microsoft MCTS Training, Microsoft MCITP Certification login in to Certkingdom.com

It’s just that she and a lot of other people have removed themselves from the e-mail grid since it’s too time-consuming to plow through a full inbox. So, why do people have e-mail addresses when they don’t even use them? It’s rude. Turn on the “bounce” filter and take it off of your business card.

Many of these people have retreated to Facebook. Personally, I’ve refused to get involved with the site. It’s for college and old ladies. But apparently I have to use it if I ever want to contact these elites—of course, first I have to beg them to be let me into their inner circle. Facebook is fascism, pure and simple. But anyway, what are we going to do about e-mail?

Crummy Tricks Do Not Work

There are a number of tricks people try, like special boxes for special friends. That’s fine, but it won’t help when someone outside your immediate circle need to get a hold of you. Then there’s the stupid verification system. This bugs me to no end. Someone writes me an e-mail. When I respond, I have to go through hoops to prove I’m a real person. The guy wrote me in the first place. I was answering. These checkpoint systems are crap if they can’t see who actually initiated the conversation. And now I’m obligated to go through a process to answer. It makes me mad. This happens about once a month. If you send me an e-mail and want a response, you’d better pre-clear me. I don’t have time for a back and forth with a robot.

Pay Toilet E-mail Will Work

The idea of a pay toilet-like system has floated around for a while. Paypal or some micropayment operation (Google?) might want to try this. You e-mail me, but you have to pay for me to actually get the message. It’s a reverse postal service. I’ll gladly take a dollar to read the e-mail. And if you and I are corresponding, the dollar goes back and forth, not costing us anything.

On the other hand, spammers and casual people wanting to contact you will have to pay a dollar. If you respond to them, they get the dollar back. If the e-mail is nothing more than, “you suck,” you happily keep the dollar. It’s the American way!

This idea would eliminate all spam and minimize useless e-mail. The only people hurt by this would be newsletter folks, but within the mechanism there could be a “subscribe” flag that would allow a newsletter distributor the ability to send out the flyer without the fee. It’s not that hard. The real difficulty would be the creation of mechanisms that would actually be adopted. It would have to begin as some sort of standard adopted by a lot of big ISPs.

Whatever the case, e-mail is broken and needs to be fixed, ASAP. Facebook is not the answer and neither is any sort of closed system like it. Pay toilet e-mail is the only real solution.