The end of 2011 is near. Time to contemplate what 2012 will bring us and what won't make it to 2012. For some years now, email (born 1971) has been quite popular on the "dead list."
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently declared that email is dead. Is he right? Well, let's take a personal approach, and look at the facts from my everyday life.
A Year With Email
In 2011, I sent and received over 14,000 emails, spam not included. That's 40 emails per day, which is more than my phone calls, tweets, Facebook likes, shares, updates and chats put together.
The CMS Wire editors sent me a reminder for this article. By email. I sent them this article. By email.
I subscribed to Mr. Zuckerberg's social network and confirmed it was really me. By email. In fact, all social networks want me to confirm it's really me. By email.
LinkedIn tries to pimp its sexiness by proactively informing me about recent updates and hot topics that could interest me. By email.
Before I enter a conference call, the organizer sends me a phone number and the code. By email.
I receive invoices from social networks, SaaS providers and most of my contractors. By email.
Technology researchers Radicati see the number of email accounts worldwide growing from 3.1 billion in 2011 to nearly 4.1 billion in 2015. How many Facebook subscribers will Mark Z. have in 2015?
According to Nathaniel Borenstein, co-creator of MIME, this Internet standard for email is used a trillion times a day. How many Facebook "likes" are clicked a day?
You know why email is so strong? Because it's so easy to use. You just need someone's email address — with that cool symbol @ — and you send a message. Simple as that.
Of course, you need a program that sends and receives your email. Outlook, Thunderbird, Novell Groupware, whatever. And don't forget web clients Hotmail and Gmail. These tools are the true market leaders in CRM, ECM, ERP, SM, WEM, BI and most of the other IT acronyms we have invented. These tools contain all our contacts, contact moments, discussions, agreements, appointments, data and documents. God forbid something bad happens to them!
You can shut down any server in a given organization. Not many people will worry about it. But shut down the email server and you will have a user uproar on your hands that makes a riot on Cairo's Tahrir Square look like a picnic.
Closer to home: some months ago I configured our SaaS tools, social networks and such for my new colleague. Everything seemed to work fine, but somehow I couldn't get her email account started. Thus she couldn't confirm she really existed to these SaaS providers and social networks. In other words: no email, no Highrise account, no WordPress account, no Yammer account, no Harvest account. No work, no nothing!
Email isn't dead. If you don't have email, you're dead.
Power to the @!
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading:
- 3 Critical Social Business Trends to Watch in 2012
- The Digital Workplace: From Vision to Reality
- Social Business 2012: Say Hello to the Lean (Social & Mobile) Information Workplace
About the Author
Erik M. Hartman (www.erikhartmancommunicatie.nl/english) consults, presents and publishes about content management strategy and tools. With The Information Management Foundation (www.timaf.org) he created an initiative with other information management practitioners to provide a strong and clear foundation of information management.