Being no fan of tipping points or telling events, I still find the slow but steadily increasing disutility of email interesting:
The holiday season brings festive parties, family gatherings -- and a deluge of spam. Unsolicited messages, or spam, which account for nine out of 10 e-mails, fill up the inboxes of computer users more than ever at this time of year, experts say. "Every year, we see a seasonal increase around the holiday season. It's just worse than it's ever been before this year," said Daniel Druker, executive vice-president of marketing at Postini Inc., a San Carlos, Calif.-based company that provides message security services. Spammers spew out millions of e-mails. Some hawk pharmaceuticals and sexual aids, others offer hot stock tips. The unscrupulous commit identity theft by luring recipients into disclosing personal information, while others commit fraud with the lure of phony offers.Email is one of the few aspects of the information technology hoo-haa that has really worked, that has had its promise pan out according to script. But as many of you have no doubt noticed at work or at home, it is starting to make those sort of creeking noises that the Enterprise made just before Scotty shout "she canna take much more" and "Dammit, Captain - I'm only a Canadian acting in a science fiction episodic TV show with an outrageous Scots accent, not a miracle worker!" OK, he never said that last bit but the point is the same. Thanks to my conversion to g-mail (which I like to call iMail due to its coolness) my spam overflows in a conveniently organized manner that I delete at the merest click. But somewhere somehow I am paying for that huge creeky farm of servers that needs to be in place to handle the bazillions of spams rejected by the system or sad sacks everywhere.
Which goes to some point I have to make that must be lying around here somewhere - oh, yes...here it is. Why is open set communication still around? I mean, why do I not communicate with the people I want to email through a closed set intranet at work or at home? Only with people who have been given permission to talk to me. If we all dealt with closed set communications, spam would die off in a week. If 90% spam does not make this cost-effective, will 95% or 99%? Or is IM essentially already providing this except that it is harder to use in work contexts?