Email: The Humpty Dumpty for 2011

December 7, 2010

Facebook’s announcement of Titan, its new messaging system, has provoked a lot of analysis of the future of email.  “Facebook Messages Won’t Replace Traditional E-Mail, Poll Says” reports that the Wall Street Journal found that “More than 62 percent of over 3,680 participants in a recent online poll said they wouldn’t use Facebook Messages as their primary e-mail service.”

My initial thought is that the WSJ readership probably does not accurately reflect the overall FB demographic.  And, of course, do people really know what they will use until they’ve used it?  Most people had no idea four years ago how ubiquitous social networking would become.  Cringely weighs in with “The Decline and Fall of E-mail,” where his main point is that the death of email is from spam and the rise of social networking.  I wonder if there won’t be a different type of spam, or something spam-like on Titan.  In “Distinction Between Email and Social Networks Eroding,” WebProNews reports: “The popularity of social networking services, along with changing demographics and work styles, will lead 20 percent of employees to use social networks as a main business communication tool by 2014, according to a new report from Gartner.”

Gartner sees collaboration moving to the cloud  with companies like Microsoft and Research in Motion (RIM) cashing in.  None of this comes as a huge shock to me.  I think even the Luddite-ish among us have replaced much of email with FB already (Somebody needs tell the WSJ!), and with the size of Facebook’s membership, any additional incentive to message there will cause use of traditional email to shrink.  I think email will always have it’s niche, but so does the postal service, radio, and printed magazines.

Alice Wasielewski, December 7, 2010



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