Do you remember the world before e-mail?

E-mail and Twitter have changed the way we communicate.

There was a time in some of our lives where e-mail did not exist. Twenty years ago, when I started working for AT&T, e-mail was something you checked two or three times a day. Most of your communicating was done on the phone or in meetings and, occasionally, in memos. Today we rarely write memos and often avoid calling someone on the phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

E-mail has become the default method of communication and is driving our behavior. We are no longer patient enough to write or read a lengthy letter or memo, and services like Twitter insist that your postings be limited to 140 characters. So we now send short messages and expect an answer quickly – and it better be short.

Why is that important to a publisher? It’s because those same short attention habits work their way into what we read at home in books and magazines. That’s why content is so important. You can’t just copy the same information over and over; you have to make it relevant and specific to the audience. Otherwise, they’ll click “delete” and go to the next article.

Oops, gotta run. An e-mail just came in and I don’t want it to sit in my in-box too long …

– Rick Gramatges

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