There are some who say that email, if not yet dead, is well on its way to becoming redundant. Don’t believe them; the death of email is overstated. It may be changing, and those changes might well be considerably overdue, but dead it is not. In fact it is more important than it has ever been.
So what is it that convinces people of email’s imminent demise? Social networking of course- with social network tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Yammer and so forth, who needs email? Naturally these tools do play an important role in communications, but they have so far failed to replace the telephone which has been around for nearly one and a half centuries. Telephones have changed considerably in that time, and they have adopted a much greater functionality than that for which they were originally conceived, but they are still there and they are more important than ever .
Neither has social media replaced face to face meetings, instant messaging, texting, or any other form of communication. Each communication method has a role to play and now social media is growing alongside them.
In 2012 there were around 3.3 billion email accounts worldwide, and their number is increasing on a daily basis. Projection of the current rate of growth suggests that by 2016 there will be around 4.3 billion accounts. In fact, it is difficult to see how Twitter, Facebook and so forth could even exist without email functionality.
Today email is the life blood that flows through the veins and arteries of commerce and government. The failure of social media is hardly likely to bring these organisations to their knees, and for that matter neither is the loss of the telephone for a day or so, but should email fail than chaos ensues and the entire enterprise grinds painfully to a stop; when email goes down, so too do communications between people; between systems; and between people and systems. Without email the world might not stop spinning, but it can feel as if it has. Note that this is not the case with Twitter.
That is not to say that email is not in a mess at present. The vast majority of email is spam, malicious or of no importance, and the problems are getting worse. Fortunately there are also many tools that have been and are being developed which not only sort the wheat of email from the chaff, but which are also able to handle such complexities as email retention and deletion policies, and that can guarantee email continuity even during hardware and email server outages.
Email is not dead nor is it in any danger of dying. It does need bringing up to date, and this is already in progress within ever increasing numbers of organisations. Today businesses rely on email to a greater extent than ever before, and there are no signs of the trend going into reverse.
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