Email is ... very close to the breaking point ... [but] it is naïve to believe that IM is the answer to the information overload that's ailing e-mail.
Our culture is hurting from information pollution everywhere we turn.
... one more toxic spill that's directing our attention to short-term minor issues at the cost of procrastinating on important tasks that require more than a few minutes of uninterrupted thinking.
What can we do about this?
Jakob Nielsen makes the case for an "Internet control panel" in a recent issue of ACM Queue.
Again, the article raises important issues, but I find the proposed alternative rather unconvincing. According to Nielsen, it seems that the "solution" is just a matter of loading the right software onto the computer.
At its core, this affliction is not computer related, and no quantity of object-oriented band-aids will eliminate the pain. In context, the problems of email and IM are relatively minor.