In most cases email is counter productive and a terrible loss for business teams or our society as a whole. No – not because of spam or any of the arguments we hear every day. It's a terrible loss because of it's lost opportunity to learn, collaborate and get feedback.
I received one of those emails today, where a person shared their business thoughts and was asking for feedback and ideas. Of course I can answer the email with my very personal opinion and send it back hoping that some of the answers are helpful.
Now – if that person would post the same question in one of our groups where between 500 and 20,000 people are engaged and actually thinking about the very topic almost constantly – what a wealth of feedback would that generate, how much better would that person get educated and how many other people who would just not come up with the question in the first place would learn as well.
Professional business work groups like the one we are running on Facebook provide learning on steroide every single day. The amount of learning through short posts and even shorter answers brings a wealth of knowledge to the public like never before. Unless there is a need for highly confidential information, email should be banned as much as possible – simply because it dramatically reduces the leverage effect of learning in an online collaborative environment. And CCing the rest of the word is certainly not an option.
I'm off of personal email since January 2010 and am down to reading business email once a day max.