Why Email No Longer Rules... / And what that means for the way we communicate [Telecom]

Why Email No Longer Rules ... And what that means for the way we communicate


Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over.

In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take hold-services like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world. And just as email did more than a decade ago, this shift promises to profoundly rewrite the way we communicate-in ways we can only begin to imagine.

We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet-logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging? Thanks to Facebook, some questions can be answered without asking them. You don't need to ask a friend whether she has left work, if she has updated her public "status" on the site telling the world so. Email, stuck in the era of attachments, seems boring compared to services like Google Wave, currently in test phase, which allows users to share photos by dragging and dropping them from a desktop into a Wave, and to enter comments in near real time.

Little wonder that while email continues to grow, other types of communication services are growing far faster. In August 2009, 276.9 million people used email across the U.S., several European countries, Australia and Brazil, according to Nielsen Co., up 21% from 229.2 million in August 2008. But the number of users on social-networking and other community sites jumped 31% to 301.5 million people.

"The whole idea of this email service isn't really quite as significant anymore when you can have many, many different types of messages and files and when you have this all on the same type of networks," says Alex Bochannek, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

So, how will these new tools change the way we communicate? Let's start with the most obvious: They make our interactions that much faster.

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Reply to
Monty Solomon
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There is no earthly reason why any of these systems need be any slower than email[1] -- and email has the advantage that it's much easier to ignore people whose notion of "urgent" doesn't match up with one's own. (Some People seem to have the misapprehension that if you have an IM client open, for example, then you are paying exclusive attention to that application and have nothing else to do. Which may be true for twenty-year-old college students -- kids these days! -- but isn't true for too many people who have actual jobs.)

-GAWollman [1] Last time I looked at the statistics, our email system here at work delivered 50% of all messages in six seconds or less, and the vast majority in less than ten minutes.

Reply to
Garrett Wollman

Yep, even though e-mail was designed as a store-and-forward system it still works remarkably quickly when it doesn't have to "store" in any of the components along the chain.

When you can click "OK" on a web side on one side of the planet and a response arrives in your Inbox a second or two later, I don't think anyone can complain about the optimum speed of the e-mail protocol.

I wonder how well these other "tools" perform when full end-to-end connectivity is not always present?

-- Regards, David.

David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.

Reply to
David Clayton

If it needs to be quicker than email they can try to reach me via a conventional telephone number.

I have texting blocked on my wife's and my wireless family plan. Neither cell phone is on unless we are out of town. Having said that I can understand why *some* business folks need a cell phone on much of the time. Even with them, though, texting is often instrusive and overused.

Email is essential to me in my consulting business. The ability to send attachments is almost as important as the message itself. Those are mostly PDF and Word documents.

We use Go To Meeting for sharing desktop applications, which is occasionally invaluable.

With email I have long since learned to quickly identify and trash spam. My biggest problem is a close relative who is retired and has nothing better to do than send all the yesteryear and political baloney.

***** Moderator's Note *****

I knew a Systems Analist who had his Mother-In-Law's email address routed to an automatic response robot, which spat back a rotating list of excuses that explained why he couldn't do anything until later. His Mother-in-law sent him more emails after he installed the filter, and the next time he saw her in person, she complimented him on how he was the only one of her relatives who always answered her emails.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Sam Spade

She will catch up with him in the afterlife. ;-)

Reply to
Sam Spade

Why?, that is only a step or two away from these call centers who are basically staffed by humans only to give an outlet to the disgruntled and confused (most of the time the "problem" isn't resolved, but people feel better because they have talked to someone).

If you essentially automate the process of making someone feel like they have communicated, what's the harm in that?...... ;-))

Of course, if the originator of these e-mails always got immediate responses for each one then sooner or later they would twig that it was a machine responding - better to have something only send the responses back during sensible hours of the day......

-- Regards, David.

David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.

Reply to
David Clayton

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