Stop Using Email to Share Files

It is increasingly vexing to me the way email is the defacto standard for sharing files. The reality is that email was never designed for sharing files.

It is an all too common occurrence in a corporate setting where multi-megabyte PowerPoint and Excel files get slammed around to numerous recipients on a distribution list with disparate versions shooting back at the sender and no easy way to consolidate the flow.

Granted there are countless solutions to this problem that document management, collaboration, portals, version control systems and even peer-to-peer have solved, but the reality is that they usually require more effort than simply slapping that bloated file into an email and kicking it out to everyone and their mother.

Ugh! The madness!

Some day there will be a ubiquitous solution that is agnostic to an OS and a hardware platform. I suspect that given the killer-app-ness of email, it will be something that seamlessly grafts itself to that process.

Of course there are some very simple solutions like You Send It, which essentially saves your attachment to its web server then pops out an email with a link to everyone on your distribution list. However, as simple as it is to use, it is still an out-of-context process.

Perhaps next-gen mail servers with intelligent content distribution, version tracking, update/edit reconciliation and off-line synchronization is the way to go. And I’m sure there are solutions like that out there or in the works, but they are far from being everywhere like good ol’SMTP.

Someday the madness will end.