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Is Email Really Dead?

Recently you’ve might have read my posts talking about the rise of social task management software and how they are bringing about the end of email. Despite admittedly maybe being a little premature, I still believe that 2011 marked the beginning of the end for email. I know you have your doubts, but let me reassure you why we’re witnessing the end of an era.

Email grew in popularity throughout the 1990s primarily because it was inexpensive and increased productivity. For the first time you could message someone instantly, attach important documents and could communicate across the world from outside the office. (Yes, admittedly you could fax documents but you never really knew if the recipient ever received them). However, as the case with most things, as email’s popularity grew we were slowly exposed to flaws with this system – from SPAM clogging up inboxes, to email born viruses, to the wasted time it inevitable takes trying to find that one important email amongst the sea of messages in your inbox. The chore of managing your email has resulted in frustrating employees and costing companies money. Today, going through your email inbox has become more of an annoyance than anything else. Yes, most of us still communicate via email … until now.

In 2011, French tech company Atos broke that cycle and decided to eliminate all email communication. Their logic? Only 10% of emails employees received are useful (http://news.yahoo.com). I think Atos’ move will may well inspire others to follow suite and eliminate email. With the new combination of social media tools like Yammer, Jive, or Facebook that foster internal communication, and project management tools like Asana or Do.com that give project transparency I believe we’re seeing the beginning of a new era. Now I know what you’re thinking, can these applications really replace email? The answer is yes.

This new generation of tools social medial and task management tools allow individuals to post like a traditional email, while at the same time  allow greater team visibility. With these tools you won’t need email status updates for that project, instead you are able to see how each of your team members are progressing on their respective tasks and which ones are mission critical for project success. Gone are the days where will you need to ask for something to be resent because it got lost amongst all the deluge of other emails. Not only do these tools save time, they save money. By helping individuals identify pertinent information quickly, there is less time lost.

Last November, Mindjet published a study explaining that because people can’t find what the need in their email inboxes. They end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with the amount of data they must sift through therefore  lowering job satisfaction. These new tools allow you to post important information in real time, and neatly keep track of what you needs to be accomplished – fostering a sense of accomplishment not one of overwhelming frustration.

So while email may still be a staple in our daily lives, I think that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end for email.

Your Thoughts
Disagree? Think I’m nuts and email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon? Share your opinion with me in the comments.

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