Eat your spinach: Email is good for you, but it could taste a lot better

July 3, 2015 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Takashi Okutsu of Traction Software's Japanese Business Office says that email is like spinach. It may be necessary for a healthy business, but not everyone likes spinach. He says that it's not reasonable to think that Social Network Software replaces email. It's better to look at how SNS extends and complements email. Takashi's July 3, 2015 blog post explains how, see this rough Google English translation.

Takashi often works with customers who depend on email for external and internal communication. In his blog post he uses several examples:


It's simple to email content into Teampage. The article or comment is automatically logged with the correct Teampage account based on the incoming email address. It's also simple to CC: email to Teampage when you want others to see an outgoing email to a customer or other person you are working with.

People can receive an email notifications when an article they are interested in is posted to Teampage. You can choose to receive notifications based on: comments added to articles or spaces you watch; comments added to articles you wrote or commented on; articles with a tag you watch; articles that mention you.

When you receive an email notification, you can reply to the email to automatically add a comment to the threaded discussion. Only the content you write is added to the thread, not a copy of the entire email thread.


But too many email notifications can be overwhelming. Teampage also provides an automatic email digest that summarizes articles and actions of interest, customized for the preferences (and access permissions) of each Teampage user.

You can use email notifications for your highest priority interests, and use the email digest to catch up on everything else. By default the digest is emailed once a day, but each person can choose to get a digest for a longer period (once a week), or several times a day.

Takashi concludes (in Google translation): "I think you have done already the spinach by e-mail. Why not been investigated in-house social us to support it. Just add a little plus of 'CC in TeamPage', you can get a big plus."


Understanding Spinach Update: Takashi writes that the Japanese word ホウレンソウ (HORENSO) has a literal English translation "spinach", but it is used to refer to a Japanese practice that aligns members understanding and synchronizes actions. Thanks to Takashi and Google Translate, I've learned that: 1) Japanese people have useful terms for communication practices that don't have an English language equivalent. We should adopt them; 2) Teampage is very good for ホウレンソウ !

"HORENSO is a way of information sharing by way of aligning members' understandings and synchronizing actions about changing circumstances that happen in and out of an organization." from NNA post. See also definition of HOKOKU.


Constellation Research Analyst VP Alan Leoposky aka @alepo frequently debunks claims that "email is dead" (or should be), pointing out: 1) Email is universal. No introduction or specialized software required; 2) Email is a firmly established habit. Habits are hard to change, and often shouldn't; 3) Email enables every person to filter, organize and prioritize what they see; 4) Email is one of many channels for messsages: we should flip our perspective to the stream of messages rather than the channel used to deliver each message. I agree.

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