Why Does Email Have to Die?

This is the first and last post you will see on this blog that talks anything about death.  In talking about email I’m pretty sure that there have been numerous technologies, functionality, and fads that should have been responsible for the death of email.  As I sit here today…and last time I checked…I was still getting email.  Just checked my Blackberry…yup…still getting my email there as well.  After Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the death of email yet again at the hands of Facebook and friends there were yet another round of articles, postings, and noise about email’s untimely death.  This is why it is the first and only time I will write about death and email in the same posting.  I’m tired of wearing black so many times for email just to see that it has in fact not died.

Will Facebook and it’s social media buddies kill email?  No.  Just ask Google how successful they were with Wave making a dent in email traffic.  Even Google went so far as to implement an email notification system to inform Wave users that there was a new message in a thread.  It is almost a year to the day when I wrote in a post for iMedia Connection about the introduction of Wave and it’s impact on email marketing.  The last time I logged into my Wave account was about seven days after that article hit the blog.  Wave was missing that key element…the notification.  How are you supposed to mine through all of your friend’s status updates to find the ones that are really meant for you?  This is something that Twitter has figured out.  The @ mentions and direct messaging allow for users to be notified when people are speaking about them or want to reach out directly.  Facebook tried to follow…but my impression has failed.  How many of your Facebook friends are using the @ mention feature in their status updates?

Facebook faces a problem…and I’m not referring to their privacy issues.  The major issue is distribution.  It is delivery.  I don’t claim to be a technophobe…but I’ve only seen one smartphone out there to date that is a pure social media only device.  All others…Blackberry…iPhone…Droid…while they offer social media apps…have at their core…email in mind.  While that might change as the years progress and technology advances…there is a reason why Apple on their iPad and iPhones includes “Mail” as one of the four factory provided icons at the bottom of the device and not social media.

Will email change as more and more become engaged with social media…definitely.  I would be stupid to sit here and tell you that email usage and consumption habits have not been changed by the likes of Twitter and Facebook.  Being in the email marketing industry there are signs of these changes everywhere.  Share to social networks has all but eliminated the need to include the standard email forward to a friend.  Social media and email work well together…it is not simply one or the other.  They have a symbiotic relationship.  Each technology has it’s place.

So…why does email have to die for social media to succeed? Why does email need a replacement? Can’t we all just get along?


2 Comments

John Caldwell on June 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm.

I’d venture to bet that more people heard of Sandberg’s comments via email than any other medium….

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