By Mike Musgrove Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, May 25, 2007; A01
Last month, venture capitalist Fred Wilson drew a lot of attention on the Internet when he declared a 21st century kind of bankruptcy. In a posting on his blog about technology, Wilson announced he was giving up on responding to all the e-mail piled up in his inbox.
"I am so far behind on e-mail that I am declaring bankruptcy," he wrote. "If you've sent me an e-mail (and you aren't my wife, partner, or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over."
College professors have done the same thing, and a Silicon Valley chief executive followed Wilson's example the next day. Last September, the recording artist Moby sent an e-mail to all the contacts in his inbox announcing that he was taking a break from e-mail for the rest of the year.
The supposed convenience of electronic mail, like so many other innovations of technology, has become too much for some people. Swamped by an unmanageable number of messages -- the volume of e-mail traffic has nearly doubled in the past two years, according to research firm DYS Analytics -- and plagued by annoying spam and viruses, some users are saying "Enough!"
Those declaring bankruptcy are swearing off e-mail entirely or, more commonly, deleting all old messages and starting fresh.
E-mail overload gives many workers the sense that their work is never done, said senior analyst David Ferris, whose firm, Ferris Research, said there were 6 trillion business e-mails sent in 2006. "A lot of people like the feeling that they have everything done at the end of the day," he said. "They can't have it anymore."
So some say they're moving back to the telephone as their preferred means of communication.[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Fred Wilson is late turning on to this idea of 'writing off' his volumes of spam/scam/legitimate email and 'declaring bankruptcy'. I have been employing this tactic for more than a year now, as have many of you who like myself choose to toss mounds of email each day with no further inspection of same. Unlike Fred, however, I still make a feeble attempt to sort through it all, which is not easy when the ratio of spam/scam to legit mail is about 95 percent spam. The stuff the bots say is spam is treated as such, and tossed unread. The stuff the bots are unsure about, is given a cursory examination by myself; if it is a (subject) thread I recognize or a user's name I recognize, I pass that on; then I scan through the remainder. The reason I scan through the remainder of the stuff the bots are not sure about is because I feel I have that obligation as a newsgroup moderator; if I was not responsible for a Usenet newsgroup then I would probably do like Fred, and pitch all that as well. PAT]