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Creative Career Path

Assembling the Pieces2011.02.21

    Have you ever been forced to play telephone tag? It’s not much fun. You call someone and leave a message, asking them to return your call. They call you back when you are unavailable, leaving a message saying they got your message, and asking for a return call. Repeat this cycle until you get through, or give up.


    E-mail made life easier, by allowing you to convey your message and have it answered at the earliest convenience. But a conversation by e-mail is really just a sophisticated form of telephone tag. Moreover, your e-mail correspondence can easily run into the hundreds of people, particularly when you include business and unsolicited e-mail. Trying to manage multiple disjointed conversations through a digital inbox and folders can be a nightmare of inefficiency and frustration.


    Then along came Social Media, which has already surpassed e-mail as the primary form of online communication. The Wall Street Journal Online pronounced this in an article, Why E-mail No Longer Rules…And what that means for the way we communicate.


    E-mail is still quite convenient, but it is a direct descendant of postal mail, using many of the elements from the same paradigm, the in-box, opening and closing your mail, attachments and folders. It still needs to be filtered for spam, junk, and viruses. While the subject line is meant as a tag for relevance and importance, more often than not the conversation drifts in a direction that soon turns RE: whatever it was into a useless tag.


    There is no escaping e-mail, because it follows you everywhere in your smart phone or mobile device. Most likely it comes in faster than you are able to organize it. Despite little tricks like smart mailboxes, spam filters, and searchable e-mail programs, it is very difficult with e-mail to avoid getting caught in a digital log jam.


    Chances are that you manage to keep up with the really important items in spite of the e-mail deluge, by organizing your time, schedule, and priority outside of your e-mail program. Chances are equally good that your life online has become even more complicated, if not more interesting, by the addition in recent years of Social Media. The ability to communicate in real time with people around the world, sharing news, links, photos, videos, files, and event information, with a console that fits in the palm of your hand, makes e-mail look a lot less attractive.


    Social Media and connectivity creates its own problems of information overload and constant distraction, but it also takes communication places that e-mail never dreamed of going. When technology comes into common use, it also evolves solutions to the problems that it created. In this case, the solution to the chaos of connectivity may be in the ability to collect, tag, and filter information itself.


    Already mainstream, one of the most elegant solutions available is an application called Evernote, which enables you to capture information in almost any form, organize it, and find anything fast. It captures your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations all in one place, and frees your mind from the stress of trying to remember where you put them. If you have a smart phone, you can capture visual information, photos, white board notes, maps, e-mails, web pages, attachments, to do lists, random ideas, voice memos, and put them into digital notebooks that you can bind, name and tag for yourself, or share with friends, in over 20 languages. Even if you already have the application, you can almost certainly learn to use it more effectively.


    E-mail isn’t going away any time soon, and Social Media is here to stay. We are all living the Grimm’s Fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, where dropping breadcrumbs is no way to mark your path through the dark forest. The birds will eat them as fast as you drop them, and you will never assemble the pieces. Better to find a way to remember everything, and only when you need it. Do yourself a digital favor, and see how it might make your life easier by visiting


    William Reed


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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