Email Is Dead - Didn't You Get the Email?

Carl Weinschenk
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Top Five Rules for E-mail Etiquette

Follow these simple rules to look more professional in the world of e-business communication.

The rise of unified communications and social networks raises some profound questions about the fate of email.


Clearly, the total demise of email is not likely or even possible. The real drama will be if it is marginalized as a new generation of workers, consumers and prosumers gradually push this legacy tool aside. It says something about the downside of email when the finding that 70 percent of messages are spam -- and that counts as good news, since the percentage was 20 percent higher about three years ago.


That's the basic premise of a piece written for GigaOm by Miguel Valdes Faura, who is the CEO and co-founder of BonitaSoft. The premise is quite simple: Email is cumbersome and inefficient, while the emerging platform - with or without a token presence of email - avoids many of those issues. This is how Faura puts it:

Over the past several years, the rise of social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter have taken a lot of the conversations that once occurred on email to other channels on the consumer side. While email is still a central repository for tracking updates from various networking sites, it has become decidedly less useful for interacting with friends and colleagues on a daily basis compared to mediums like instant messaging and streaming content feeds.

This is not the first time during the Internet era that one technology crowded out another. In some cases, both technologies were Internet-based, as when broadband crowded out dial-up. In others, the transition was between pre-Internet technologies - such as the replacement of time-division multiplex (TDM) phone services with VoIP. In all cases, the older technology doesn't disappear. It simply becomes secondary.


The commentary by Faura was a reaction to a step being taken by Atos Origin, a huge European IT firm that aims to eliminate all email in 18 months. That radical decision was taken by CEO Thierry Breton, a former French Finance Minister. Said Breton in The Daily Mail:

Claiming that only 20 out of every 200 emails received by his staff every day turn out to be important, Mr Breton said: The e-mail is no longer the appropriate tool. It is time to think differently.

Though the move is by just one company, the coverage it has gotten has hit a nerve, such as with Forbes contributor Ty Kiisel, who noted that he tends to use other tools for the jobs that email formerly dominated.


The new platforms do a better job than email, and do it without the headaches that accompany the old technology. Atos' elimination of all email will remain a extreme example, but look for organizations to continue de-emphasizing it as time moves on.

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