No, email is not dead

I noticed this tweet from Chuck Gose yesterday and it referenced an article on the New York Times website called “Email: Press Delete.” Every so often we all see these types of articles that make the cry “email is dead!” and suggest that we should look at the habits of the younger generation to see how we will communicate in the future. Chuck thought this was tiresome and stated that email is not going away and I tend to agree.

The reason I disagree with Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook’s chief operating officer referenced in the article) is because no one seems to talk about how communication habits change as we get older. The typical argument behind the “email is dead!” bandwagon is that the younger generation does not use email because they are on Facebook instead. While that may be true, let’s fast-forward 5 years. Right now, that 17-year-old is probably not on email as much as Facebook. However, what happens when that same person is now 22 and is looking for a job after graduating from college? How will she communicate with potential employers? Probably email. When she lands a job, what is one of the first things she will receive? Probably a company email account.

What we’re also forgetting is how tightly email is still integrated into the authentication process on various websites. How do you log into Facebook? With your email account. Many websites use email as a username and all of them require an email address to register. Email is still the universal inbox for many people and will remain so.

Will the next generation communicate differently than today’s professionals? Absolutely. Will they stop using email and conduct all business over Facebook? I doubt it. Email is still fast, efficient, proven technology. Great email marketing firms like Indy’s ExactTarget know this and are seeing fantastic results from utilizing email as a marketing medium. At SpinWeb, our own email newsletter is a significant component in our communication strategy.

Let’s stop jumping on the “email is dead!” bandwagon and instead learn better ways to use it effectively. I would love your comments below.

3 Comments

  1. 1

    The irony here is that Facebook is probably one of the biggest senders of email on the planet right now. They utilize email to keep people returning to their platform. I’ve also heard rumblings that Facebook is going to allow for POP and SMTP integration with their platform so people can use the Facebook inbox as their inbox. I’m guessing @facebook.com email addresses are coming soon after.

    You’re 100% accurate on the behavior side as well. My son never used email until he got to college, now it’s his primary ‘professional’ medium. His job, his research, and his professors all communicate via email.

  2. 2

    Articles and authors like the one I referenced live inside a little social world and forget how businesses still very much rely on email. It’s not going anywhere. Now has the amount of personal email traffic lessened because of Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc.? Definitely.

    But it’s not dead. Silly.

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