Some of us have thought this for a while. The ability to passively offload a task or just type off a thought to remove it from our plate is a technique that has been honed for decades.
There is a recent article in The New Yorker titled Was E-mail a Mistake? that covers some research into this question. If you’ve ever wondered how your life was consumed by ‘communications’, it is worth a read.
I’ve had e-mail in one form or another since the 1970s. For a while back at the turn of this century I would received 300-400 work emails a day, EVERY DAY of the week. Each of these being hand crafted and critical to the individual who sent it. My role was global in nature, so I am not sure how it would have worked any other way, but I do remember many a Saturday being spent catching up on all the ‘communications’ for the week. I didn’t have the admin support that some of the leaders of that organization had to sort the wheat from the chaff.
It does make me wonder what the folks who wrote this article think about the proliferation of personal life, asynchronous communications techniques (e.g., twitter and blogging). The article was focused more on business decision making in an office environment. Based on the amount of time I see folks with their nose focused on their phone, that might be a minority of time spent in modern life.
At the end of the article it states:
The era that will mystify our grandkids is ours—a period when, caught up in the promise of asynchronicity, we frantically checked our in-boxes every few minutes, exhausted by the deluge of complex and ambiguous messages, while applauding ourselves for eliminating the need to speak face to face.
Based on the current use of technology today by digital natives, I doubt that our use of asynchronous communications is what will mystify them.