The Death of Email (as we know it)


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Some months ago I was predicting the death on Email and Websites with the growth of Social Networks/Media.  But as was pointed out what I was predicting was the death of those tools as we have known them.

I have been using email for over 25 years – prior to the Internet (as we know it) so feel well positioned to comment there.  It was a great tool when it was just on what we now know as an intranet.  I was working for Dun and Bradstreet Software (the then biggest business software company in the world – it was very pre SAP) and the email network was based on our world-wide IBM mainframe based system, so I could communicate directly with anyone in the company anywhere in the world.

So whats changed – well now I can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world (if I know their address) but apart from that the basics of email are still pretty much the same.

If you dont believe email (as we know it) and we are about to move to a new and smarter form of email then ask anyone under 20 if they use email.  The answer will almost certainly be NO.

They do but they just dont recognise it ….   They use Facebook, Myspace etc as an all-encompassing communications system with their world and only their world.  A bit like out old mainframe system – if they are in the address book we can reach them if they are nt we cant.

So they use a combination of email with integrated address book and broadcast tools (The Wall in Facebook) and then meet others in Groups.

All pretty sensible really – a close environment that keeps the spammers out ….  that means you can publish all those jokes and funny videos that clog up my email every day in a place where I can come and look if I am interested.

So those Grumpy Old Managers who are banning Facebook while they sit in their offices reading their mates’ joke emails need to take the blinkers off and look at where Social Networking is taking email (as we know it) and understand its potential for their business. Incidentally these were probably the same GOM’s that banned email (until their mates told them they could send great jokes), mobile phones (until their mates told them they could send great jokes using text messages) and spreadsheets (until their accountant told them they were useful!!) when they first became available!!!

Recently I had a colleague ask me to distribute an invite to my contacts about an online seminar he was arranging with Joe Abram (of MySpace fame) to my contacts .  He said so that he could track which of my invitees “attended” I should cc him in on all the emails.

When I told him I would contact most of my colleagues using LinkedIn he was at a loss to come up with an idea to replace his cc plan!!

So what I need now to replace email (as we know it) is LinkedIn with some of the features of FaceBook or perhaps FaceBook without all the crap!!

Tomorrow I will give my thoughts on the death of Websites (as we know them) but in the meantime read Shel Holz latest Blog Deathwatch: Static Destination Websites as this will form the basis of much of my opinion!

I have to agree with Shel its not the death of a tool but perhaps the end of an era.  And st the end of the day its about the content not the tool anyway!

3 thoughts on “The Death of Email (as we know it)

  1. I want to see how Google Wave changes the way we use email. Predictions are that it will have a profound effect. We shall see!

  2. Look forward to your thoughts … checking out Wave has been on my list so hopefully you can save me the time and effort.

    Certainly tools like Wave are the next step in the evolution of online communications.

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