At the end of the day email has become the application for communications … I’ve written in the past about how much it drives me crazy and based on some of the comments I received related to those posts it convinced me I’m not alone. You can say what you want about blogs, wikis, and other new-school communication, work-flow, and content management tools but they do not even come close to matching email on many levels. Here at PSU email is the mother of all web apps … I am sure it is the same on most campuses. Here’s an example … we have noticed that students are changing the way they are interacting with the machines in our labs … instead of spending hours at a machine they are spending something like less than seven minutes — they are doing the following three things checking email, updating their Facebook entries, and logging into ANGEL. BTW, the email part is the only thing we actually “own” end to end.
I am becoming more and more amazed at how much time and energy we all put into managing enterprise email across higher education. Clearly it is the communication standard on all of our campuses. Many of the people I know here at PSU are making a switch that is of great concern to me from a host of perspectives — they are forwarding their email into whatever free service they use. Most of them are on Gmail, but some are sitting in Yahoo. I can understand that the features associated with something like Gmail is very interesting, but the fact that people are opening themselves up to the potential security issues associated with free email services is alarming. I think at this point we’re all going to have to really think about it all. I am not alone in this concern as I hear it more and more … this morning the New York Times ran a story about it that is worth reading.
I am wondering why so many people do this and what should we be doing about it all. Any thoughts?