Beki Grinter

Professor Quits Email

In academia, academic management, discipline, social media on June 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Wow, my hero, was my first thought about the announcement that a professor had quit email.

Then I thought how can he remain connected to his students and also his professional research community. It’s asking a lot for all of them to shift their patterns of interaction to accommodate this, I would think.

But then I started to think about my office telephone. I have thought about having the line disconnected. Like many of my colleagues my voice mail message says that I don’t respond to voice mail. But when the phone in my office rings I will answer it. And sometimes its been people from the state of Georgia calling me to ask me advice.

And that’s why I keep it. I feel responsible to be connected to the taxpayer. They pay for some portion of me. And I feel I ought to be available, at least some of the time, to them. And yes, I suppose I could insist that they send me email instead, but while Internet access is a proposed human right, there’s a gulf between that as a vision and that as a reality. Georgia is, sadly, a place where some people remain unconnected, especially in economic times that force hard choices about what to pay for.

And of course, I also get emails from people in the state of Georgia. And that’s another reason why I’ll be keeping my email.

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