Is Email a Thing of the Past?

I recently read about the book, Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By, by Anna Jane Grossman. It got me thinking about the things in my life that have become obsolete, what I’ll miss and what I’ll happily wave goodbye to. On the miss side: cassette tapes, camera film and cursive writing. On the time-to-say-goodbye side: getting lost, manual car windows and handkerchiefs; no explanation needed. But is email now a thing of the past? The Wall Street Journal says it’s true.

In the world of communications, email is now thought to be second fiddle to the likes of Twitter and Facebook. The always-on mentality has brought about these new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and much more fun.

Jeff Teper, vice president of Microsoft Corp.’s SharePoint division believes, “people were very dependent on email” and with the influx of new-age communication services, “people can use the right tool for the right task.”

However, many argue that Twitter and Facebook are making us less productive because we now have an array of ways to send messages and update statuses, so we spend more time doing it during the workday. It is also thought that the messages being sent are not as important as emails because they are mixed with trivial personal updates.

I think there needs to be a balance. Email will never fully be on the outs, but it is important to recognize the shift in communication and the value and rapid adoption of the new services. You don’t have to share what you are having for breakfast in your Twitter status, but it is important to understand that Twitter and Facebook are the primary communication tools of this generation.

P.S. What ever happened to picking up the phone? Or talking to someone face-to-face? Let’s try to bring that back.

Contributed by Jena Coletti.  Follow her @jmcoletti