Good Old Email in its Twilight Years

I’m sure most of you will not agree, or you’ll convince yourself otherwise. News.com has an interesting article with the catching headline, “Kids say e-mail is, like, soooo dead”. This got me to thinking about dead letters, for some odd reason.

dead_letter1.jpg

Like it or not, email is dying. Just like face-time gave way to phone calls, and calls faded away for email. Apparently, texting and social network messaging (including the Twitters, Pownces and Jaikus of the world) are the replacement communication media.

I suppose IM is somewhere in there, but since it’s doesn’t (always) give you a permanent record of a message, e.g. if the other person is not logged on, I’ll leave it to the side for now.

Rumor has it that Facebook is building an email application, which makes perfect sense for them. What better way to draw in MySpace users by allowing Facebook users to mail them directly from Facebook and simultaneously take another step toward Facebook as the new interwebs-desktop-telephone machine.

The big question will be how spam-free can they keep it? Spam has done more to kill email than anything else has. Facebook is relatively spam-free and proud of it. If they can overcome that hurdle, the end game will begin sooner.

Email will continue to be the bastion of corporate communication, but check back in 3-5 years. Enterprises are slow to adopt, but this one will be driven by the new users. Those kids that are in school now.

I’m curious to hear what you think. Is email dead or dying? Am I nuts? Bonus points for naming your first email account and client. Mine was asp@leland.stanford.edu, and we used the Emacs-based client Elm (and later the Pine). Wow, I feel old.

AboutJake

a.k.a.:jkuramot

8 comments

  1. Good thought provoking article Jake, though I guess you are talking about email in the context of personal communication rather than business? What are your thoughts on IM for business use, as a replacement for email? btw my first taste of email was with the fondly remembered Pine service, julie.mch@stir.ac.uk…those were the days.

  2. Good thought provoking article Jake, though I guess you are talking about email in the context of personal communication rather than business? What are your thoughts on IM for business use, as a replacement for email? btw my first taste of email was with the fondly remembered Pine service, julie.mch@stir.ac.uk…those were the days.

  3. Actually, I am talking about email of all kinds, personal first, then eventually business. As people who are young now mature in the work place, I expect they will keep their tried and true communication media, pushing we emailers to the fringes.
    I don’t think IM can replace email entirely, due to its spotty logging and burst-like nature. Your comment has prompted me to think about a part 2 piece, so thanks. Jake

  4. Actually, I am talking about email of all kinds, personal first, then eventually business. As people who are young now mature in the work place, I expect they will keep their tried and true communication media, pushing we emailers to the fringes.
    I don’t think IM can replace email entirely, due to its spotty logging and burst-like nature. Your comment has prompted me to think about a part 2 piece, so thanks. Jake

  5. I am using twitter, sms, facebook messaging more than emails for personal communications.  I don’t see a replacement in the corporate world for email, what do I replace it with that can be used internally and externally?

    I used pine too, my account was something @lmu:disqus .ac.uk I think.

  6. Wow, how did you stumble into this post? It’s nearly 4 years old now, and email is irreplaceable, at least for work, as you say. I’m drifting away from it for personal stuff too. In the enterprise, email is a known entity among users , and bc it’s been used in court cases, I don’t see that changing. It’s the closest thing to a permanent record of communication.

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