The Email Charter: an idea worth spreading

Can anything be done to ease the stress of our ever-growing email in-boxes? TED’s Curator Chris Anderson has been thinking about the problem and today is launching an Email Charter to try to reverse the upward spiral.

The Charter has 10 rules that tackle the core reason behind email’s relentless growth — that email takes more time to process than to create. Email stress is clearly widespread. An earlier draft of the Charter attracted 50,000 views and hundreds of comments and tweets, which have helped shape the final version.

Chris sees the Charter as an idea worth spreading. “This is a problem that can’t be solved by individuals acting alone,” he said. “Email stress comes from all the unanswered emails in your inbox, and the fear that you may be causing offense or frustration to your friends and colleagues. If we can mutually agree some different ground rules, that stress can go away.”

The Charter calls on email senders to focus on respecting the time of their recipients and make emails as easy as possible to process. It also suggests we cut each other some slack, and just mutually agree it’s OK for responses to be ultra-short or delayed.

Check out the Charter here, and then join the TED conversation that Chris started here.