This is the first post in what is likely to become a series of reflections on the role of e-mail and Social Media today and the upcoming years.
After 15 years of internet, is e-mail hanging on by a weak thread?
E-mail is overused and even abused, and users' mailboxes are congested--worse than traffic in the busiest metropolitan areas of the world. People are tired of scrolling up and down the inbox and many stopped looking at, and not to mention responding to, e-mail messages except for the urgent messages from their bosses or customers. Reaching people via e-mail (unless you are their boss or customer) has become quite challenging. It is "extreme" e-mail fatigue that we are suffering from. So many things fall through the cracks and so many inefficiencies are invading the work place and our personal lives. Does this sound like "chaos"? Well it is!
Is Social Media taking over?
While Web 2.0 tools (such as blogs, wikis, and Microsoft SharePoint) are emerging as the better alternatives for collaboration and information sharing, in this post, I am interested in focusing on the Social Media platforms and reflecting on their relationship to e-mail today and in the future.
Social media is the new kid on the blog (relatively new compared to good old e-mail). People are still excited about the Social Media platforms. Even though these platforms are quite busy, they tend to be less intrusive than e-mail, and they give users the ability to scan the feed casually and jump in and respond only when they desire to do so. The expectations are less while the reach is much broader. And these platforms provide messaging functionality (similar to e-mail and Instant Messaging) which seem to get more attention and better response time than the traditional e-mail.
And now the questions about the future of e-mail and social media
- Where do you see the future of e-mail versus Social Media?
- Will it get to our work life as well (having more structured enterprise Social Media platforms that would include collaboration and social media all in one within the firewall)?
- Will the traditional "public" e-mail approach eventually go away?
What do you think of this hypothetical chart showing how the time spent on e-mail (and therefore the role of e-mail) will diminish over the next few years while the time spent on Social Media will increase. E-mail me YOUR version of this chart (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Graph: Hypothetical hours spent per week on E-mail versus Social Media!