Email is Still Not Dead

( Updated )
Yet-another-email-is-dead-article, this time from the Chicago Tribune, via Paul Kedrosky. It’s the same old argument: teenagers using IM, or increasingly SMS, instead of email which they find cumbersome, slow and unreliable – hence email usage will decline.

I beg to disagree. Sure, I also get frustrated by the occasional rapid-fire exchange of one-liners, 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.

But ask teenage entrepreneur Ben Casnocha how many emails he receives and responds to daily on his Blackberry, even while sitting in class – I know first hand he responds fast. We all enter business, get a job..etc sooner or later, just not at age 12 like Ben with. Our communication style changes along with that – often requiring to a build-up of logical structure, sequence, or simply a written record of facts, and email is vital for this type of communication.

Email 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.

No, email is not dead, and it won’t be any time soon. But we all have to learn to use the right tool in the right situation.

Update (7/20): A day after my post the Email is Dead discussion flares up again:

Update (9/7) Rod Boothby created this chart:

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  1. Anonymous says


  2. Anonymous says

    I’ll endorse what you say about Ben – his description of a bullfight is the funniest I’ve read in my life. So obviously from a teenager who’s out of his home country. I doubt the Spanish would get it.

  3. Anonymous says


    Thansk for the mention. I should of clarified in my posting that I dont see email as “dead”, but that there is strong diversification of communication online, which is hitting a critical phase: IMs, facebook comments to MySpace messages.

    The report is, by itself not new, but highlights the need for online marketers to continually focus on where the audience is. Thus, depending on your audience, placing a targeted banner on MSN Messenger should be as strongly considered as the normal list of websites for banner placements, etc.

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