How e-mail became more frivolous than Twitter

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I’m cleaning out my timemagazine.com e-mail inbox one last time. One thing that this exercise is driving home to me is that, after more than 13 years at effectively the same e-mail address (e-mails addressed to my old fortunemail.com address still land in my inbox), a journalist gets an insane amount of PR spam. And while I can’t work up quite the level of dudgeon about it that Chris Anderson famously has—especially since some of this “spam” is stuff I signed up for long ago—I do find the prospect of suddenly shutting down the flow to be wonderfully liberating. I know it will just start up again in a couple of months in my new job, but until then I plan to enjoy the respite. Which is interesting.

My e-mail inbox, which in theory ought to be full of information aimed at me, is actually clogged with far more useless junk than my Twitter or Facebook homepages (or, for that matter, the comments to this blog). In this context, social media have turned out to be much more targeted, and much less of a time waster, than e-mail. I’m sure many other people recognized this long before me. I’ve just been too busy going through my e-mails to notice.

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