I Hope this Email Finds You in Hell

The most hated form of modern communication (except for everything else)

Jason McBride

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Picture of a devil in a gray business suit pointing to you standing in front of the fires of Hell. The image has the words “I hope this email finds you in Hell” at the bottom.
Image by Jason McBride

You hate email. You receive far too many emails each day. You hate email so much that you only look at the average email for nine seconds before moving on to something else. You also love to complain about how many emails you receive.

If you’re a millennial and you’re neurotic, you obsess about inbox zero, cursing every time you have to delete, move, or mark an email as spam so that you can keep your inbox empty and your email app free of notifications.

If you’re a member of Gen Z, you are overwhelmed by the notifications on your email app, which is currently displaying a four-digit number of unread emails. You treat email like you do phone calls, only checking and responding if you are already expecting a message from someone.

If you’re a Gen Xer or a Boomer, you have a warm nostalgia around your first email address and are appalled at the effort millennials spend on achieving inbox zero and the sheer volume of unread messages Gen Z tolerates. You also remember the good old days of RSS feeds.

Despite how much you hate email, today, you will probably give some company permission to email you as you join a newsletter or sign-up for a coupon. You tell yourself you will unsubscribe later, and you are knowingly lying to yourself.

Email is a bit of a mystery. Somehow the average office worker receives 121 work emails a day while only sending 40 emails a day. That means way too many emails are being sent to way too many people at work — but an email is better than a meeting, right?

Email is such a scourge that billions of venture capital dollars have been spent trying to replace it. However, technologies like instant messaging, social media, Slack, and even text messaging have failed to dislodge email as the primary form of digital communication.

Many of us have grown to hate Slack and other office instant messages because of the expectation they breed of everyone always being available, even after hours.

Why do we still use a form of electronic communication invented in 1969 to secure our bank accounts, social media accounts, school accounts, work…

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Jason McBride

Freelance Writer & Illustrator | Poet & Visual Essayist | Amateur Human | he/him https://weirdopoetry.com/newsletter/