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Exactly how long can I do without e-mail?

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What would life be like without e-mail? I am finding this out at work during the production period for this issue. The e-mail server failed. It has been down since the previous issue went to press.

I have to write this column before the full production period for this issue has run its course, but if you want to thumb ahead a few pages you can see if our E-Letters page appears. It is kind of difficult to solicit opinions by e-mail if you cannot access the results.

If the page doesn?t happen to be there, you will know that I am wrestling with the question of whether next week?s paper will have two E-Letters pages in it, one for this week?s unpublished responses and one for next week?s.

I am also grateful that not all readers submit their opinions to Numismatic News in the form of letters to the editor by e-mail. The good old-fashioned post still contains letters in hard copy that I can access and input while I am electronically out of touch.

Fortunately, the online poll itself is tabulated independently of e-mail so last week?s question actually does have an answer that appears in this issue on Page 4.

This is probably a good point to apologize to any reader who was expecting any kind of a rapid e-mail response to any inquiry. Even when e-mail service is restored, it will take me a while to catch up. Also, if you sent something to me that bounced back, please try again. I don?t want to miss any show information, club happenings or other important submission.

Fortunately or unfortunately Numismatic News is not important enough to make headlines in its difficulties. When BlackBerry service goes down, it makes national headlines. I probably don?t want to see a headline, ?Numismatic News crippled by e-mail outage? but such a headline at least would let my national readership know that I have not suddenly become inaccessible or worse, completely rude.

Then, of course, we can debate the definition of the word ?crippled.? Just how big an impact does such an e-mail outage have on Numismatic News? I would like to be able to write that there is absolutely no impact whatever, but that isn?t true.

Sure, the staff here in Iola still has the telephone and fax and we are using them. We have written many stories that appear elsewhere in the paper.  But the nagging thought that we have missed something will be on my mind until e-mail service is restored.

Then there is the ad department. That staff is having difficulties, too.
Whatever might have been missed this week, the most important lesson for me is just how cut off from my readers that I feel. An editor cut off from a large number of his readers is in a terrible fix. Staying informed and staying connected is what I do for the benefit of all. While I don?t count the number of e-mails that I receive or send, they are an important part of my day. I am receiving and sending messages all day long every day when my e-mail is working. They affect and inform everything that I do ? as do my three cups of coffee in the morning.

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