Elie Saidman, a friend and a very succesful entreprenuer, had a great post on his blog this morning that I not only found very interesting, but completely agree with. Email’s impending death has been written about ad nauseum, and never seems to come.
Email has been, and in my opinion will continue to be, the dominant online communication medium of choice. Here is Elie’s post:
Jessica Vascellaro (of lipsyncing fame), the WSJ’s Silicon Valley reporter, has an article in todays’ WSJ titled “The end of the email era”. The article – aside from being wrong – illustrates the danger of being too close to the Silicon Valley early adopter crowd. If you spend enough time too close to the fire of the Valley’s futurists and “elite”, you start to believe that the future has already arrived. But even if the future promises a world without email and dependent on the likes of Twitter (see this article on the actual usage patterns of Twitter to assess for yourself the likelihood of that happening) and Facebook instead, that future has definitely not arrived. Ask most anyone you know outside of Silicon Valley what their main forms of communication are and they’ll tell you it’s email, the phone, and maybe text messaging. If the people you ask are older than 40, the likelihood that they are engaged on Twitter or Facebook as a major form of communication starts to rapidly asymptote to zero.
I’m 35 and have been using the internet – in it’s various forms – since 1992, earlier if you count BBS. I’ve used email extensively since entering college. Email was then – and continues to be now – the medium I am most dependent on day in and day out. It has – by far – the best signal to noise ratio. Even though I selectively follow a small group of people – my Twitter feed is overwhelmingly noisy to the point where many days it’s not usable. My Facebook feed is far better but still nowhere near as relevant as email is.
Email is in no way dead. Once upon a time, people were saying that email would be killed off by IM. That did not happen. Email won’t be killed off by Twitter or Facebook. They are different mediums with different roles. Email will continue to be the most high value (low noise) medium we have other than face to face or phone communications. Remember the RSS craze? Remember Pointcast? Yep – didn’t think so.