R.I.P e-mail

My thoughts today are about email and the continuous debate about its suggested demise due to social media.

Email is ubiquitous, but so is social media, isn’t it? We are becoming increasingly surrounded by Facebook ‘Like’ buttons and integration into many aspects of our lives, changing the way we view and share content online, and maybe even how we shop online in the near future. Email has to be one of the greatest inventions to date. Yes we moan when it goes down, but we are also happy when an email we shouldn’t have or wish we hadn’t sent either gets lost on its way or ends up in the recipient’s junk folder (phew).

Ashamedly right now I have 3,324 emails in my inbox, of which approximately 97% are rubbish and should be deleted, so why haven’t I? Because the remaining 3% could be valuable. This tedious task of sifting through them has been put off and put off and now got to the stage where I refuse to spend a whole Saturday doing it as a matter of principal. Now i’m close to deleting the lot and just hoping there was nothing of importance or any personal value. I’m not a complete lost cause, in the last few years I did start creating folders and so bank stuff, receipts, car insurance details etc are safely filed away out of my inbox, but the problem is that I have had this account since I was about 16. Believe it or not, being super organised is in my nature! So I am just upsetting myself with this mess.

We have so many methods of communication these days that we are spoilt for choice. Apparently 45% of all email is spam, believe that?   The death of email has been debated for many years now, so what has been decided? I might just be being lazy but every morning I check my emails and straight away I delete ten of them. Yes i know I could just un-subscribe or route them to my junk folder, but some of them I might be interested in… one day.

One idea that I have is that we have so many methods of communication to send quick instant messages or broadcast our news that the days of sending each other detailed messages of our news are gone. It is now up to us to find out the news of our friends and family. Instead of being sent letters/emails updating each other, now we just expect that we are reading each other’s Facebook pages so when you speak to your friend that you haven’t spoken to in two years, you expect them to know you’ve got a new job, you’re engaged, and went on holiday to New York last year. Is this lazy or common sense?

In business, companies such as IBM use their own internal instant messaging system, Sametime, so instead of employees phoning or emailing each other, they can just ask a quick question on Sametime and therefore save time and increase productivity (in theory). But of course, the ease of instant messaging can have the reverse effect. A question  that you might not have previously asked someone, you now ask because it’s so easy, but it might not warrant the effort of an email or phone call.

Mark Zuckerberg himself has said that email is not the future of modern messaging, but of course he would say that because Facebook is the future… isn’t it?! Could you see the world without email?