I love email. Really.
I love it for what it gives me. Each message fights for my attention, and I love the feeling of power that gives me. It’s addictive. I love being able to decide when, how and where to reply. The asynchronous nature of email fits very well with my chaotic brain that is constantly in search and need of new impulses. New messages pique my interest, hold hidden promises, might solve problems I didn’t know I had.
Email feeds my appetite for personal news. Email makes me feel efficient, professional and powerful. Of all the protocols that enrich my life this is my main communication channel. I’d rather give up the Web than email.
I also hate email. But I hate it like I hate television. You really can’t blame a medium for how it is used by other people. Television has no bad intentions, it is just being abused by people who fill it with shit, and hope we will consider their product delicious.
Email sucks, but that’s mainly because a lot of people suck. They abuse email to vomit information in my direction, in hope I’ll clean up their mess. Their projectile vomit messes up the serenity of my empty inbox.
In between the amazing emails that give you energy and flatter your ego are little digital land mines. You move your cursor down, unwittingly, until you step on one. It is filled with anger, uselessness, regret and you can’t help but react. Your muscles tense, your breath speeds up, you hit reply and your fingers start hitting the keys of your keyboard like punches. You hit ‘send’ and it feels like you’ve delivered a fatal punch and victory is yours. But all you’ve done is provoke the receiver to hit back harder.
Email can be evil, a distraction, a nuisance, and it can show you your worst character flaws. And that’s also what’s to love. Because the sun shines brightest after a hefty winter storm, because this contrast brings out the worst and the best in everything.
Email, it is because you hurt me, annoy me and defy me that I love you even more when, every once in a while, you love me back.