The Whorfian take on why I am a bad friend

Was it Whorf who implied that the tools we use change our brain?

Mr. Johnson extended this to show the interfaces we use everyday change our culture and our behaviour.

One tool, one interface is changing my life, my mind, my world.

Gmail is making me a bad friend.

Last night I went to the pub for a friend's birthday. I barely remembered it until his wife pinged a reminder mail through to everyone a couple of hours before the end of the working day.

Standard London practice.

A little later, at the pub, at the party – I ran into someone who I had not seen in many, many years. As is happening all too often, my first words to him had to be "I owe you an email, don't I"

I swear it's not just that email is broken, it's that Gmail seems superbroken, from the pitch to the pixels.

I think that at the core of this is the gaping gigabyte maw of the practically-bottomless mail archive.

Things slip in there and once beyond the event-horizon of about the top 10 items, they disappear from my world. I use the 'mark with star' feature basically to control spam, so there's no possibility to use that for flagging stuff to come back to. If I was more dilligent perhaps I could find a hack using tags, filters and all that Merlin-Mann jitt-jazz.

But I haven't.

McLuhan's prediction that every technological extension is a human amputation has never felt so close to home.

From the Gmail homepage: "Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want."

Does the possibility of having everything at your fingertips mean it's always just out of your grasp?

Do you use Gmail and find it eating your memory?

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