Although email has undoubtedly revolutionised personal communication, it has its downsides. Spam is the obvious negative but I'd term that impersonal communication since the spammer is unknown to you and you to them. In terms of personal communication, email allows us to sometimes chicken out of direct communication with the recipient. I expect we've all faced the difficult phone call or face to face that we'd rather not have. Sending an email gets you off the hook, albeit in some cases only temporarily. Other forms of instant or near instant messaging, such as computer-based instant messaging (e.g MSN messenger, AIM, iChat etc) and mobile phone SMS may be getting people off the hook in all kinds of situations.

Well one UK company has taken this to new extremes. Accident Group, the UK's largest personal injury claims firm has sacked 2,400 people, many of them via SMS to their employee's company mobile phones. Shame on you Accident Group, you chickened out big time.