How cloud collaboration has changed my email habits
Those of us in the collaboration industry often refer to ourselves as “email killers” or “email replacements.” But the reality is, the business world still revolves around email and will continue to do so for some time to come. So far, collaboration has not replaced email in my daily life. But it has definitely changed how I use email.
Like most of you, I’m a collaboration newbie
I’m a so-called Generation Xer. That’s a nice way of saying that I’m old enough to have slow, dim, hazy recollections of life before email – interoffice mail, fax machines, mail couriers and postage machines.
A year ago, I had never heard of cloud collaboration. But it turns out that I was collaborating without knowing that’s what I was doing. I had begun to rely on simple file-sharing services when I worked with outside graphic designers. I had once been irritated beyond belief by a Google Doc’s limited formatting capabilities, completely unaware that its true value lay in its anytime, anywhere, everyone-can-edit-it access. I’d Chattered on Salesforce. And I’d heard of SharePoint.
Then I joined Central Desktop, and I began to use our collaboration platform on a daily basis to share files, engage in discussions, manage projects, schedule meetings and more.
Nearly one year later, my relationship with email has changed dramatically.
The five biggest changes to my email habits
- I no longer hoard documents. As a corporate copywriter, I often saved multiple iterations of a document to my hard drive as it passed through the approval process via email. My first draft. Version 2 with John’s changes. Version 8 that Mary never responded to. Version 10 final.doc. With online collaboration, the system does this for me. The version-control log tracks who has changed what and stores copies of every draft along the way.
- I no longer worry when someone doesn’t respond. Anyone in a creative role can attest to the anxiety you feel when a deadline looms, but this or that approver hasn’t bothered to respond to your email. You don’t know whether they are in the process of editing the document or have completely forgotten about you. Now I can check the audit log and see who has opened or downloaded my document, so I can badger them – err, I mean, follow up – accordingly.
- I unsubscribe liberally. With online collaboration, I can remove myself from threads. I don’t have to delete 50 congrats messages about Jim’s promotion. I unsubscribe before the madness starts, then rely on email digests to link to discussions and read all the related comments in a single go.
- I spy via email digests. One of the best and worst things about online collaboration is that it makes information more widely accessible. I may not be included on a thread about what customers are saying about a new feature, but if it shows up in my email digest, I can still read about it. I skim and scan all my email digests for topics that interest me or that relate indirectly to my job. (For those familiar with our 9 Types of Collaborators, this is Stealth Ninja behavior.)
- I dread using regular email. On the rare occasions when I have to rely on plain, old-fashioned email to work with a customer or vendor, it actually feels archaic to me. Having to attach, save and resend files. Having to comb through five different back-and-forth emails to find the one that contains the information I’m looking for. Ick!
That’s my story. What’s yours? How has online collaboration changed your email habits?
Latest posts by Anita Taylor (see all)
- The Usual Clients infographic - November 28, 2012
- How cloud collaboration has changed my email habits - July 11, 2012
- Show love to award-winning Customer Experience team - June 27, 2012