According to some reports the SoBig worm is wearing down the Internet. The level of spamming due to SoBig is so intense according to these reports that basic infracturtuce components are breaking. All of this via Ray Ozzie's weblog. I don't know that I'm on the outskirts of the web, living in one of the most connected countries in the world and working at an "Internet company" (The domain name registrar Ascio). But out here, mail still works fine. The traffic problem is real. I think we block 60% of all email we receive during business hours (and a much higher percentage in off hours), but I find it hard to believe that email will cease to function. It is still the killer app. Bigger than the web. It's what convinced my mother to get on the Internet.
Then there's the friction from unwanted and only partially relevant email. The mail you can't filter, since it might be important. This is the equivalent of 'friendly fire' in the spam wars. I'm sure many people receive enough mail, that it has ceased to be a person to person communications system for them, functioning instead like a statistical 'contact meter'.
Ozzie wants us to use Groove instead, and asks rhetorically There is NO possibility of sustainable constraints on email - a fundamentally unaccountable medium. Are we surprised when we can't do productive work in an uncontrollable medium?. Well, yes. What does not surprise me is how I fail to do productive work in controlled media. Open, many authored, heterogenous media rock. Closed, single authored, homogenous media aren't media at all. They are documents no matter how distributed they look. And that immediately takes away value.
Obviously, for many tasks a level of control is exactly what we need, but for general purpose writing and communication I'll take the most open, anarchistic medium I can get.