Email was the killer app that made the Internet a business imperative. The browser made the web indispensable for businesses. Does social media spell the demise of email? Some people think so. I don’t.
Is email dead? It became the defining technology for a generation that saw the genesis of the web and they are holding on to email. Even though email became the breakout technology and companies like RIM enabled email to really go mobile, today, it’s taking a perceived backseat to social media messaging. (facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…etc.) Trends are pretty clear that there are more messages being sent via social media and not email. I’ve noticed a significant drop in email traffic over the last 3 years thanks to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My take on it is a little different. I believe social media is saving email.
My inbox is a lot lighter these days. I used to get hundreds of emails every day. Today, I get a couple of dozen emails that I need to read every day. Did I suddenly become less popular? Maybe, but my social media messages have increased ten-fold in the same period. I no longer rely on one channel to communicate. There are unintended consequences of using multiple channels to communicate, but that is another post. My in-box has transformed from a dumping ground for all messages to a priority in-box for important, actionable messages. So, by diverting the bulk of casual conversation, comments, updates, observations and other less urgent or important messages to social media, I’ve saved my inbox. I’ve saved my sanity somewhat as well. I check my email 4 or 5 times a day now. I used to suffer from crackberry check syndrome and constantly be pulling out my blackberry every time it vibrated.
Social media has saved email and made it more important in my world. It may not be at the top of the messaging food chain as it once was, but for now, it continues to hold a solid place in the messaging mix. Those that say email is dead are missing the point. Social media saved email.