Kate finds this London Register story on a survey of IT professonals:

Dynamic Markets found that properly functioning email systems are so critical that 68 per cent of companies say users get irate within as little as 30 minutes without email access, and within just 24 hours of email system failure, almost one fifth of IT managers say that their jobs would be on the line. For more than a third (34 per cent) of CIOs and IT managers, a week without email is “more traumatic than events such as a minor car accident, moving to a new home, or getting married or divorced”, the survey found.

Really, guys. Get a grip.

While I’m sure the reporter’s sentiments will be the standard reaction, it makes sense to me. I’ve been in minor car accidents and, really, there’s little trauma involved. It’s annoying, but one has insurance and one does what one must–get a rental car, take it to the shop, etc. Moving, getting married, or getting divorced are planned events that one enters into voluntarily, usually with months of mental preparation.

Now, by contrast, having one’s e-mail connection go down is just aggravating as hell, especially for those of us with broadband access that expect 24/7 service. Indeed, if it’s not back on in a couple of minutes, I’m rebooting my computer and checking my connections. In about 10 minutes–screw 30–I’m calling my ISP and wanting to know when they’re going to get it fixed.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Guy Cabot says:

    I’m with you.

    Being without email seriously cramps my ability to do my job. After about 30 minutes of downtime, I’m going to be on the phone threatening someone.

  2. Tom says:

    As an IT manager, we could live with the occasional outage, except for e-mail. And I mean, except for e-mail. If e-mail was down, people would really get freaked out, from the lowest timekeeper on the factory floor who got 2 e-mails addressed to her a month to the President of the Company, who could not get his e-mail at a meeting 2000 miles away.
    Corporate types do not mind the telephones down, if they desperately need to make a call, they typically can use their cell phone. And they tend to like the break of the phone not ringing. However, when e-mail goes down, everyone gets squirrelly. An interesting sociological change in the corporate enviroment.

    By the way, we kept the e-mail servers up over 99.95% of the time, yet at every review senior management could remember the couple of times e-mail went down over the past year. UGH…

  3. I have DSL, and if it is down for just a few minutes… I call my ISP.

    What’s wrong? When will they come out and fix it? (which is no small task – I live 45 miles away from them.)

    It’s an odd kind of dependance. Or addiction.