App a Week #3 : Danger Mail – don’t email in anger

A bit of a silly one this week – a thought experiment exploring some of the inherent risks in having instant communication devices with us all the time, even when we shouldn’t be using them. Danger Mail is for when you need to write an email that you know you should never send.

Here’s the idea – If you have to choose between two clients to send your email (the normal Mail app and Danger Mail), then perhaps you will consider why you are sending the email – are you really communicating something that is necessary? Or are you doing it for you own (perhaps risky) gratification? Run the two apps alongside each other and you may think a little more about what you are putting out in to the world.

Danger Mail is intentionally non-functional. You cannot send an email with Danger Mail. It is a space for you to vent, to whine, to rage without consequence. You can write whatever you like, and write it “to” whomever you like, with no risk.

That’s the real issue at the heart of the Danger Mail – instant communication isn’t just instant anymore, now it’s public and permanent (cf Twitter, Facebook, et al). I think there are some serious dangers in all of the off the cuff, seemingly fleeting communication opportunities at our fingertips. I’m not advocating for a return to snail-mail; just a chance to think a little more before your message is out in the world. The advantages of instant communication are clear, but when that communication gets added to your permanent online record, the risks are enormous – who hasn’t said something in their past that they regret?

Half way there

This is my third app in as many weeks – half way to my six week goal. None of the apps are release-ready (one week of design and development simply isn’t enough time), but all three have sparked new ideas and forced me to do a lot of learning and practice which was the real goal of App a Week. I’ll be writing more about the process so far in another post.