“Your Inbox is too Big”

That’s what my IT department has been telling me for quite some time now … I guess I trust them … I mean, I’ve been here at the School for six years now so I guess its probably about 3 GBs. That’s a lot of space, but when you consider just what email is really used for these days, its not that big. Everyone in my unit, the Solutions Institute, uses email as the primary mode of communication and more times than not, people send large files around for people to review and comment on. We store it in organized mailboxes so we can look up things that happened months and even years ago. Its just the way we do business. So why don’t IT groups understand? I’m not sure.

Why the hell am I writing about this? Well, I just came across an article in the BBC News, titled, “Email is the new database.” Very interesting and it got me thinking about the short sighted approach our IT group has taken … or is it that no one has built a compelling application to store long term comminucation and thinking in? Blogs and wikis are nice alternatives for storing thoughts — random or otherwise — and IM is a great way to communicate, but they all lack the basics that email provides.

As I read the article I couldn’t help but think about what this is going to mean to my students — these are the students who have had email since they were eight or so and must have huge email repositories … then I think about how much I communicate with those students during the semester and it just blows my mind. Gmail gives you a gig, but how long is that going to hold up. I am amazed at how great it would be if I had a living record of all my interactions with my profesors from college and grad school … that would be better than the tattered notebooks I have stored in my basement. At any rate, the whole concept of huge email boxes as searchable archives has my head spinning on what would the killer app be to address this growing need. There’s something there, or is email really just that good?

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