Yet-another-email-is-dead (OK, just in danger) article, this time by Alex Iskold @ ReadWriteWeb. Alex adds Twitter‘s increasing popularity to the standard “reusable” arguments: teenagers using IM, or increasingly SMS, and most recently Facebook instead of email which they find cumbersome, slow and unreliable – hence email usage will decline.
I beg to disagree as I did before, and before. Sure, I also get frustrated by the occasional rapid-fire exchange of one-line emails when by the 15th round we both realize the conversation should have started on IM. Most of teenagers’ interaction is social, immediate, and SMS works perfectly well in those situations. However, we all enter business, get a job..etc sooner or later, like it or not… Our communication style changes along with that – often requiring a build-up of logical structure, sequence, or simply a written record of facts, and email is vital for this type of communication. As much fun Twitter may be, I rarely have (or see) serious ongoing discussions there – in other words Tweets are in addition, instead of email.
Email in business is being “attacked” from another direction though: for project teams, planning activity, collaboratively designing a document, staging an event… etc email is a real wasteful medium. Or should I say, it’s the perfect place for information to get buried. This type of communication is most effective using a wiki, or an increasing number of online tools supporting native collaboration. Yesterday I reviewed a startup CEO’s ppt deck, and it took us 4 rounds of emailed versions of the same presentation – it would have been a lot easier to collaborate on just one “master” presentation in Zoho Show.
So yes, I agree with Alex, even in business we’re offloading stuff off email. But email is far from dead, or even in danger, and it won’t be any time soon. We just have to learn to use the right tool in the right situation. As usual, Rod Boothby says it better in a single chart: