E-mail is a waste of time, says U.K. pop star

Social campaigner and pop star warns that electronic mail can damage productivity and cause misunderstandings.

Charity campaigner Bob Geldof has condemned e-mail as unproductive and potentially damaging to business.

The man behind Live Aid and Live 8 told a conference in London on Wednesady that he thought e-mail prevented any real progress being made at work and could actually damage commercial deals, according to a report on the BBC Web site.

The social activist and businessman said the amount of work that gets done is proportionate to the amount of emails that are ignored. "E-mail gets in the way of serious consideration of what you want to do," Geldof said.

At the conference, Geldof revealed he dreads seeing lots of e-mail messages in his inbox, as they impose an agenda on him and disrupt his own plans for the day.

Disruption to the working day is not the only problem, Geldof stated. He added that a badly-worded e-mail can actually be damaging to potential business deals.

Gary Andersen-Jones, vice-president of video mobile supplier Mobix, said an over-reliance on e-mail could become a problem for many businesses.

"Bob Geldof is spot on," said Andersen-Jones in a statement. "There is an over-reliance on email and too many people hide behind it. E-mail is a great application when used intelligently but email management, particularly with mobile e-mail, can be counter-productive," he said.

Geldof is not alone in his condemnation of electronic mail. Entrepreneur John Caudwell banned his staff from using e-mail in 2003, claiming it was eating into productivity.