Comments

  1. I’m with you there, 100%. Email is one of the worst forms of communication ever invented, yet for so many people, it’s one of the only technologies they use.

    1. Email is forever lost in the shuffle.

    When you send an email, it ends up in your sent items and in the other person’s spam folder, inbox, trash can or saved mail. I can’t tell you the number of times my team and I have arrived at a decision over email and then forgotten what conclusion we made and no one can recover a trace of it anywhere.

    2. The right people are inevitably not CC’d.

    Email is okay for point-to-point communication, but if you’re emailing a bunch of people, the right people either aren’t included in the first place, or they’re not included when somebody doesn’t hit “reply-all.” (Conversely, when people hit reply-all and they’re NOT supposed to do so, they often become the laughing stock of the office.)

    3. There’s no search, public history or audit trail.

    Unlike forums, there’s no way to comb back through old emails archives looking for important keywords, decisions, etc.

    At my company, we’ve set up internal forums and they’re squashing email. For sensitive matters, I’ve set up a forum for each employee that only I and the HR director can see so that people can post anything they want and rest assured that it won’t fall into the wrong hands.

    Down with email!

  2. I’m with you there, 100%. Email is one of the worst forms of communication ever invented, yet for so many people, it’s one of the only technologies they use.

    1. Email is forever lost in the shuffle.

    When you send an email, it ends up in your sent items and in the other person’s spam folder, inbox, trash can or saved mail. I can’t tell you the number of times my team and I have arrived at a decision over email and then forgotten what conclusion we made and no one can recover a trace of it anywhere.

    2. The right people are inevitably not CC’d.

    Email is okay for point-to-point communication, but if you’re emailing a bunch of people, the right people either aren’t included in the first place, or they’re not included when somebody doesn’t hit “reply-all.” (Conversely, when people hit reply-all and they’re NOT supposed to do so, they often become the laughing stock of the office.)

    3. There’s no search, public history or audit trail.

    Unlike forums, there’s no way to comb back through old emails archives looking for important keywords, decisions, etc.

    At my company, we’ve set up internal forums and they’re squashing email. For sensitive matters, I’ve set up a forum for each employee that only I and the HR director can see so that people can post anything they want and rest assured that it won’t fall into the wrong hands.

    Down with email!

  3. Robert, every time I see your Twitter followees count I wonder why I’m not among them but I’ve always thought it would be kinda numb to ask directly. But I’d like to tag along before you reach 7k! Twitter user name: LenEdgerly. And BTW, you’re right on about email.

  4. Robert, every time I see your Twitter followees count I wonder why I’m not among them but I’ve always thought it would be kinda numb to ask directly. But I’d like to tag along before you reach 7k! Twitter user name: LenEdgerly. And BTW, you’re right on about email.

  5. I have to side with email – I operate on Myspace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and occasionally on other Web2.0 sites and though I may make contacts and get a discussion going on these services, inevitably it transitions back to email.

    With the anti-spam services and email forwarders in place today – email has gotten better not worse, but that’s just me!

    Jeff

  6. I have to side with email – I operate on Myspace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and occasionally on other Web2.0 sites and though I may make contacts and get a discussion going on these services, inevitably it transitions back to email.

    With the anti-spam services and email forwarders in place today – email has gotten better not worse, but that’s just me!

    Jeff

  7. too many applications for the same related tasks, makes me think in bureaucracy, kind of cumbersome !!!

    next generation of communication applications should include all possible means of collaborative tools…

  8. too many applications for the same related tasks, makes me think in bureaucracy, kind of cumbersome !!!

    next generation of communication applications should include all possible means of collaborative tools…

  9. call me when the sales of Exchange and Domino servers start to decline year over year and when hotmail gmail yahoo mail start to decline. Why did Yahoo buy Zimbra if there is no email future?

  10. call me when the sales of Exchange and Domino servers start to decline year over year and when hotmail gmail yahoo mail start to decline. Why did Yahoo buy Zimbra if there is no email future?

  11. Email isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t going to decline and it definitely isn’t going to be replaced by niche socialnetworking/web 2.0 services.

    Think mainstream not uber-geek (which is an incredibly small group of people.)

    Pretty funnny to see everyone flap their arms like the sky is falling because a few people say they use one socialnetworking app more than email.

  12. Email isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t going to decline and it definitely isn’t going to be replaced by niche socialnetworking/web 2.0 services.

    Think mainstream not uber-geek (which is an incredibly small group of people.)

    Pretty funnny to see everyone flap their arms like the sky is falling because a few people say they use one socialnetworking app more than email.

  13. For all the defenders of email out there — even if you’re right and it continues to be a relevant technology 5, 10 or even 20 years from now doesn’t mean that it’s good way to communicate. I think it was just in the right place at the right time and now it has such a critical mass that it’s going to be really hard to get rid of. But it still stinks for the three reasons I enumerated above. . . .

  14. For all the defenders of email out there — even if you’re right and it continues to be a relevant technology 5, 10 or even 20 years from now doesn’t mean that it’s good way to communicate. I think it was just in the right place at the right time and now it has such a critical mass that it’s going to be really hard to get rid of. But it still stinks for the three reasons I enumerated above. . . .

  15. For all the defenders of todays flavor-of-the-month tethers — even if you’re right and it continues to be a relevant technology 5, 10 or even 20 years from now doesn’t mean that it’s good way to communicate

  16. For all the defenders of todays flavor-of-the-month tethers — even if you’re right and it continues to be a relevant technology 5, 10 or even 20 years from now doesn’t mean that it’s good way to communicate

  17. I have to agree with Higher750 and Karim.

    First of all, what do people mean by “the future”? Is it months, 2 years, 5 years, 10, 50? If there is no set horizon, then anything has a questionable future since no technology stays the same.

    The problem with these tech oriented sites are that the disproportionate amount of their viewers are the tech geeks who are mostly out of touch with the rest of the world. Even in the valley, many younger people are not aware of sites like Digg, yelp and even facebook.

    Is email going away anytime soon? No way! If anything, it will continue to grow and no one really knows what is going to happen beyond 10-15 years.

  18. I have to agree with Higher750 and Karim.

    First of all, what do people mean by “the future”? Is it months, 2 years, 5 years, 10, 50? If there is no set horizon, then anything has a questionable future since no technology stays the same.

    The problem with these tech oriented sites are that the disproportionate amount of their viewers are the tech geeks who are mostly out of touch with the rest of the world. Even in the valley, many younger people are not aware of sites like Digg, yelp and even facebook.

    Is email going away anytime soon? No way! If anything, it will continue to grow and no one really knows what is going to happen beyond 10-15 years.

  19. Give email a break! Granted, there are those that abuse it – but it’s been a highly reliable means of asynchronous communications for many years. It’s also the largest carrier medium for bi-directional communications. Twitter is a super tool – but it’s a tool. It’s only a product and a company and a single point of failure. Why would anyone think they have to choose one or the other? I use email, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, RSS, etc., etc. If anything, email remains a unifying, central resource. Not convinced? Well, every other new thing we’re all using relies upon email to: send signup details, password reminders, notifications, news alters, etc. I watch cable TV. I also read books. It’s not an either-or. Fun debate, though.

  20. Give email a break! Granted, there are those that abuse it – but it’s been a highly reliable means of asynchronous communications for many years. It’s also the largest carrier medium for bi-directional communications. Twitter is a super tool – but it’s a tool. It’s only a product and a company and a single point of failure. Why would anyone think they have to choose one or the other? I use email, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, RSS, etc., etc. If anything, email remains a unifying, central resource. Not convinced? Well, every other new thing we’re all using relies upon email to: send signup details, password reminders, notifications, news alters, etc. I watch cable TV. I also read books. It’s not an either-or. Fun debate, though.

  21. Email is a superb method of communication, if used correctly. I find GMail particularly good for keeping my email in order. What frightens me is when I see people who are ruled by their inboxes.

    I don’t really understand sites, such as Facebook, incorporating email-like systems; they are often extremely clunky, unless being used for simple messages. Want email? Use email!

    Personally I see a future that will see both traditional email, as well as faster, slicker, communications streams, such as Twitter.

    I think that if anything is likely to decline, due to these newer forms of communication, then it is likely to be the simple text messages on mobile phones.

  22. Email is a superb method of communication, if used correctly. I find GMail particularly good for keeping my email in order. What frightens me is when I see people who are ruled by their inboxes.

    I don’t really understand sites, such as Facebook, incorporating email-like systems; they are often extremely clunky, unless being used for simple messages. Want email? Use email!

    Personally I see a future that will see both traditional email, as well as faster, slicker, communications streams, such as Twitter.

    I think that if anything is likely to decline, due to these newer forms of communication, then it is likely to be the simple text messages on mobile phones.

  23. I agree with you, Robert. Email felt right maybe ten years ago but hasn’t adapted to the way people work today. I avoid email as much as I can at home and stick to IM and Twitter. I wish I could avoid email at work but that’s impossible right now. I can’t wait till I can though.

  24. I agree with you, Robert. Email felt right maybe ten years ago but hasn’t adapted to the way people work today. I avoid email as much as I can at home and stick to IM and Twitter. I wish I could avoid email at work but that’s impossible right now. I can’t wait till I can though.

  25. I read what you had to say about email. Infact, when I read the title of your blogpost I knew what you had say… It was obvious to come from a heavy twitter and facebook user such as you. However I would be interested in knowing what would be the two things that Scoble would like to say in favour of Mail [apart from what scott and you have already said].

    I am not a “Buissness week ” magazine… Just an enthu … Hope that you shall oblige

  26. I read what you had to say about email. Infact, when I read the title of your blogpost I knew what you had say… It was obvious to come from a heavy twitter and facebook user such as you. However I would be interested in knowing what would be the two things that Scoble would like to say in favour of Mail [apart from what scott and you have already said].

    I am not a “Buissness week ” magazine… Just an enthu … Hope that you shall oblige

  27. Robert,

    Personally, I would prefer email, I’m still not a fan of social sites (yet). I have old friends that think they are all hip using email. Future generations will be more likely to use Twitter instead of email. Over time that may happen.

    The reason for my post really: Robert, did you see the post from Google Gmail team about their expanding email storage??? The blog author (Rob Siemborski) was teasing about a friend named “Miriam” sending baby pics via gmail in RAW format and that she may need to buy more gmail storage. Hmm, I wonder if that is your wife? Haha, how funny that would be!

    I hope your new child and the rest of your family is doing well.

  28. Robert,

    Personally, I would prefer email, I’m still not a fan of social sites (yet). I have old friends that think they are all hip using email. Future generations will be more likely to use Twitter instead of email. Over time that may happen.

    The reason for my post really: Robert, did you see the post from Google Gmail team about their expanding email storage??? The blog author (Rob Siemborski) was teasing about a friend named “Miriam” sending baby pics via gmail in RAW format and that she may need to buy more gmail storage. Hmm, I wonder if that is your wife? Haha, how funny that would be!

    I hope your new child and the rest of your family is doing well.

  29. anyone else find it a bit ironic that the devices scoble
    prefers over email ask for an email account to sign up?
    And you need an email account to leave a comment on the future of email? Let us all know when the first profitable mainstream web site starts requiring Twitter for account validation, order confirmation, etc

  30. anyone else find it a bit ironic that the devices scoble
    prefers over email ask for an email account to sign up?
    And you need an email account to leave a comment on the future of email? Let us all know when the first profitable mainstream web site starts requiring Twitter for account validation, order confirmation, etc

  31. anyone else find it a bit ironic that the devices scoble
    prefers over email ask for an email account to sign up?
    And you need an email account to leave a comment on the future of email? Let us all know when the first profitable mainstream web site starts requiring Twitter for account validation, order confirmation, etc

  32. anyone else find it a bit ironic that the devices scoble
    prefers over email ask for an email account to sign up?
    And you need an email account to leave a comment on the future of email? Let us all know when the first profitable mainstream web site starts requiring Twitter for account validation, order confirmation, etc

  33. Hi Robert,
    For the social networking and collaboration angle, you are right, email is not as good, and you mention this towards the end of the article. For email to decline inside corporations, there needs to be a lot more innovation in enterprise class socal networking tools that allow web 2.0 collaboration in a secure (and sorry, IT monitored) environment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on corporate web 2.0 (that doesn’t require “instead of” approaches to information).

  34. Hi Robert,
    For the social networking and collaboration angle, you are right, email is not as good, and you mention this towards the end of the article. For email to decline inside corporations, there needs to be a lot more innovation in enterprise class socal networking tools that allow web 2.0 collaboration in a secure (and sorry, IT monitored) environment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on corporate web 2.0 (that doesn’t require “instead of” approaches to information).

  35. There are a few people on Twitter (relative to how many use email) and all of a sudden email’s dead? Facebook is the new email? Come on. Can you see businesses using Twitter/Facebook for their work? Email is still the mainstream. It’s not going to change any time soon. This is just another case of a minority hyping something up where there’s no foundation for their thesis. The numbers are with email.

    Nixon was right. The numbers are with the silent majority. Not the loud Twitter (and other Web 2.0) hipsters.

  36. There are a few people on Twitter (relative to how many use email) and all of a sudden email’s dead? Facebook is the new email? Come on. Can you see businesses using Twitter/Facebook for their work? Email is still the mainstream. It’s not going to change any time soon. This is just another case of a minority hyping something up where there’s no foundation for their thesis. The numbers are with email.

    Nixon was right. The numbers are with the silent majority. Not the loud Twitter (and other Web 2.0) hipsters.

  37. email’s archaic mostly because of the spam factor, i keep getting important email in my spam folder and vice versa … i wish all my friends / associates were tech forward and used twitter. I think the visual aspects of twitter are really important to it’s success as you mentioned. All those posts aggregated on one screen with pictures and the wonderful @ tools.

  38. email’s archaic mostly because of the spam factor, i keep getting important email in my spam folder and vice versa … i wish all my friends / associates were tech forward and used twitter. I think the visual aspects of twitter are really important to it’s success as you mentioned. All those posts aggregated on one screen with pictures and the wonderful @ tools.

  39. I see E-mail going the same way as the FAX machine and the land-line telephone. Been around to long to go anywhere. These will all stay until we can communicate by thought.

  40. I see E-mail going the same way as the FAX machine and the land-line telephone. Been around to long to go anywhere. These will all stay until we can communicate by thought.

  41. I’m reading all of the great comments and I have to say that YES, social networking, blogging and some great ideas we haven’t even heard of yet are the FUTURE.

    What everyone here is failing to remember is that Email in the “BUSINESS” world in many ways is Still the future. Fine, Mr Big Companies have been doing it along time, but what about the Mom & Pop shops that are just beginning to play with constant contact. Sure, progressive companies can leverage new technologies, but till someone packages it up nice and neat and then get’s all of the small business owners to understand it…well – email still hasn’t hit full swing on that side of the world. It’s like handheld applications 15 years ago. They were going to change the world…and you know what they did, but how they have and are being integrated today is not what people expected them to be. I think that’s where we are headed with email. It will fade, but I can tell you, responsible fax broadcasting STILL works. Just my 2 cents.

  42. I’m reading all of the great comments and I have to say that YES, social networking, blogging and some great ideas we haven’t even heard of yet are the FUTURE.

    What everyone here is failing to remember is that Email in the “BUSINESS” world in many ways is Still the future. Fine, Mr Big Companies have been doing it along time, but what about the Mom & Pop shops that are just beginning to play with constant contact. Sure, progressive companies can leverage new technologies, but till someone packages it up nice and neat and then get’s all of the small business owners to understand it…well – email still hasn’t hit full swing on that side of the world. It’s like handheld applications 15 years ago. They were going to change the world…and you know what they did, but how they have and are being integrated today is not what people expected them to be. I think that’s where we are headed with email. It will fade, but I can tell you, responsible fax broadcasting STILL works. Just my 2 cents.

  43. To Diego who asked “Can you see businesses using Twitter/Facebook for their work?” the answer is “yes.” With secure Facebook widgets, enabled by a company called WorkLight (http://www.myworklight.com), it’s already happening.