Email is NOT dead

If you read the press lately, one would think that email is on its death bed. There are primarily two reasons why people are predicting email’s demise. First, people are using Facebook for email and the CEO, Mark Zuckenburg thought that they might give Google Gmail a run for its money with its Gmail service. The second reason is that because of Facebook and cell phones, 2011 teenagers are using email less than 2005 teenagers. Let me debunk these silly thoughts straight away.

Facebook

Facebook is not in any way competition for email. Although there is a messaging feature, it cannot really replace the vast number of features that are in email. Here are just a few.

Formatting. I don’t care what you use for an email client, there are some basic formatting options like font size, font type,font color, left justify, center, and so on. There are no formatting options for Facebook. Zero.

Archives. On my hard drive, I have every email I have every received and sent for the last 12 years. It is has come in so handy when I trying to remember a particular time in my life or what I was doing or experiencing. Facebook does have a way to do search your emails but its dinky little interface makes it possible to do only the most basic searches.

Attachments. Facebook allows you to attach a photo or a video, but normally when I attach something it is usually a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet. It is clear that Facebook is severaly limited.

Suffice it to say that for me, Facebook messaging is more like a toy. I do use the toy and one can have basic conversations but when things get more in depth, I usually refer people to my main email account.

Teenagers.

It does seem like the entry age for getting an email account is going up. Teenagers now communicate using IM and Facebook, but they will all get an email account eventually. They can delay getting one, but they can’t avoid it. Here’s why.

Uniqueness. Email is perhaps one of the best ways to digitally differentiate between one person and another. This means that two people can not have the same email address. One person can have multiple email addresses but two people never can have the same email address. This uniqueness is used in a wide variety of ways to ensure security of the internet and to prevent fraud. It is not perfect, but email is used at the very center of tons of facilities and products. There are literally thousands of web sites that require an email address as a verification. An email is sent to actually verify the person. The irony is that even Facebook requires an email address to verify the user. The email address is the only way that Facebook can ensure that one person does not have a thousand different Facebook accounts.

Business. In tune with the uniqueness issue, the key way that business interfaces with its customers is via email. This is the way we get our hotel reservations, airline confirmations, credit card bills and on and on. The reason that teenagers do not have email addresses is because they have not had to do these things on their own. But one day they will, and they will have to bite the bullet and set up a free email account. Hey kids, it’s not that bad! It’s part of growing up.

Conclusion.

I love email. For me it is the perfect way to express myself and communicate effectively with large amounts of people. Let me explain why.

Time Management. When I do my email, I set out a specific time each day to read and reply to emails. I go through them and try to prioritize which ones are the most important, but the goal is to get through all of them. The key point is that I am not responding as the emails are arriving. I am able to control my time, and then I can give each email the amount of attention it deserves. In many ways, I think that instant message is a step backwards. Instant message is for people that want an immediate response. The flaw in this is that the fastest response is not always the best or most accurate response.

Expression. I know that I am different than most. I have all the ideas in my head and I can type faster than almost anyone that I know. For me the email works best because I can get all of my thoughts out of my head and on to other people. Sometimes, my thoughts are very clear and I can type a lot about them. That is best because people can pick up nuance and understand finer points of my message. I do not think that one would ever attempt to read an article like this via instant message or Facebook email.

Email certainly has its flaws. We still have not licked the spam problem. My Yahoo account is still jammed with dirty porn type of advertisements, although Gmail seems to do a much better job. Also, email is still limited to basic typewriter text layout, but it has expanded to where one can be more creative in their email expression.

Despite these lackings, there is no way that email is on its last legs, in fact, it seems like it is just beginning.

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7 thoughts on “Email is NOT dead

  1. I’m in my mid-twenties and work in IT and I use both Facebook and Email daily. They are both wonderful tools. I use FB to stay in contact with friends and family, but when it comes to business, I’m strictly email. I also find myself having to move conversations away from FB to my email, when it gets to complicated for FB.
    However, I wouldn’t say that FB will never replace email. Mark Zuckerburg is smart guy and he could easily implement the formatting and file attachment features, which seem to be the biggest advantages email has over FB. I would still keep my work and personal accounts separate, but I would consider moving my business to away from email, as it grows to a larger media.
    @Carole – no can steal you ID on FB if you don’t give all your info. Use your brain and only give out info you feel comfortable with. I have never give FB anything but my Name, email, birthday, and city (but not address or phone number).

    @Michael – I am sorry about your wife. At least you know that it not FB’s fault. Maybe you should create an account and do “reconnecting” of your own.

  2. I’m not on facebook and I never will be so it won’t be replacing anything for me.

    In 2008 my wife said she was getting on facebook because “everybody was using it instead of email” then a few weeks after that she reconnected with her high school boy freind and had an affair. Ouch! Not facebook’s fault but that’s what I think of when I hear that it’s replacing email.

  3. It’s the press that’s on its deathbed, not email. The crap that was written about the demonstrations in Egypt is just one example of how irrelevant the mainstream press is becoming.

  4. I don’t think email is dead, I think it’s on it’s way out the door though. With services like sitepm messaging that puts messaging over port 80, and techdex direct2client technology starting to replace email marketing software users have way more control over who sends them messages and tons of other cool stuff.

  5. Personally I feel people that use Facebook for social networking are fools. People who loves to steal IDs will have a ball. A sucker is born every day.

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