According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the average person spends 13 hours, or 28 percent of the work week, sorting through and sending emails. This is added to fact that long, drawn-out emails are slowly losing their relevance in an abundance of social networks and instant messaging platforms. Hence, the tech community has unofficially decided that what the world needs is a new kind of email platform that will allow users to cut down the time they spend reading and sorting through emails. One Israeli platform that attempts to break in the potential of the quick email bubble is TL;DR.
TL;DR: Emails are the new tweets
Created by Ami Ben David, TL;DR, meaning “too long; didn’t read”, focuses on breaking down emails so that users are only exposed to what they must see. Structured like an easy-to-navigate social network feed, TL;DR allows users to swipe left and right to delete or send a quick reply to an email, which , by the way, is limited to 30 words. However, there is an option to add longer text if it’s needed, which doesn’t happen often for most email users, according to Ben David. “You could add ‘long text’ if you want to write a novel, but those first 30 words should convey exactly what you want, because that’s what the recipients will see in their inbox feed.” Besides trying to make our email experiences simpler, TL;DR apparently also wants to tell us how our emails should look, and it seems that they should look like a Twitter tweet.
TL;DR automatically syncs with your email accounts, shortening long emails into 30 word posts even if they contain more words (which most emails usually do). Then the emails are color-coded to help you differentiate between them, and probably to make sure that you are replying the right 30 word response to the right email chain. The app also brings email attachments like links, images and documents to the forefront so that you don’t miss them in your shortened version of the email. These features are what Ben David believes make TL;DR a truly “lighting fast” messaging app with the potential to change the face of email.
Emails are really just longer text messages
The co-founder of Everything.me, an Android launch platform that attempts to narrow down the apps on your phone to the ones you use most, Ben David seems to think that TL;DR does much more than provide us with a platform for quickly dealing with emails. “More profoundly, TL;DR is dealing head-on with the social convention that emails must be lengthier than text messages,” he states, continuing, “Emails can and should be short! When we spend less time on email, we have much more time to actually have a life.”
Regarding “having a life,” TL;DR doesn’t do much to improve in that category; in fact, it makes one of the central aspects of life, the act of writing, nearly obsolete. Why not open a Twitter and Facebook account and get rid of email entirely? The problem is that you can’t. One of the most obvious downsides of using the app, which is still in beta, is that it sends you notifications just like your mail applications do. This, in my eyes, makes the app unnecessary because if you are already using a certain mail application, why switch just to read your email in a the style of a social feed? Another downside is the user experience. Searching for emails on the platform was no easy task and the email chains start to run together at some point.
As noted, TL;DR is still in its beta stage, but the app will soon be available for download in the Apple Store. Raising seed funding from Moshe Hogeg, the founder of Mobli and Yo!, TL;DR hopes to become a viral sensation in the world of email (similar to Yo) and to minimize the 13 hours we spend on emails. However, due to a confusing user experience and an overlap with existing email alerts, TL;DR may need to make some changes before it can claim to herald in a new age of the 30 word email.