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Yet Another Premature Declaration of Email's Death

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the to-from-subject-dammit dept.

The Internet 266

mvip tips the latest in a long line of premature announcements of the demise of email. "The Wall Street Journal article Why Email No Longer Rules is making the rounds online. Fast Company provided a fast response, highlighting the technical shortcomings of trying to replace email with Facebook and Twitter (where do the attachments go?). Email Service Guide points out that Facebook and Twitter are ineffective for one-off communications. With Google Wave on the horizon, we'll probably have to go through the whole charade yet again."

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The Right Tool for the Right Job (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743135)

That's all it comes down to.

But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging?

Because you don't always need some response within 15 secs, nor do you want to always be responding to some questions that take away your time and concentration. Even if you have your email client open all the time, you can leave writing a reply to it for later time.

If you know you need a quicker response, you send an IM or call my phone. Something in between and you send an SMS.

For that matter I dont want everyone to know everything about me, I dont want everyone to know I'm available or not, I dont want everyone to know all the other people I know, nor do I want everyone to know something that only certain people should know.There's also no way you'll get me to install facebook or twitter apps on my phone. If I'm not on computer, there's no need to contact me other way than calling me (and I dont even always keep my phone with me - if I'm busy with other stuff, I'll call you back on better time)

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (5, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743195)

Exactly right. Why would anyone confuse Facebook or Twitter with professional tools. An email can be a very professional means of communicating (provided that you employ proper grammar an etiquette). Social networking tools are great and may find a place to communicate between close colleagues but they should never be mistaken for a professional solution.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1, Interesting)

secretcurse (1266724) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743627)

What's more inherently professional about an email than a message on Facebook? If you're simply sending a message, you can make it precisely as professional over Facebook as an email. They're both just systems for sending text...

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743677)

What's more inherently professional about an email than a message on Facebook?

Your email client and the custom local settings.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (4, Insightful)

Trails (629752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743843)

What's more inherently professional about an email than a message on Facebook?

The lack of Farmville updates...

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744309)

Facebook doesn't look professional. Facebook has an informal, and often negative face, where as email doesn't have any specific associations to most people.

It is the same reason I always laugh when companies try to set up in 2nd life. 2nd life has a very strong inappropriate image when compared to facebook, but you get the idea.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743973)

You hit it right on the head. Facebook and Twitter are in my opinion, "toys" and are NOT for professional use.
I have never "Twitted" or "Twatted" or whatever it's called. Hell, come to think of it, I don't have an account on either service and don't plan on it anytime soon.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (4, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744239)

Not to mention Facebook and Twitter are totally closed systems. Both you and the recipient need a Facebook account in order to communicate via Facebook. In contrast no one that I exchange email with has the same provider as me.

Email is right there with Phone number and Postal address.

Facebook and Twitter are one the same level as messaging someone through any third party website, many discussion forums have messaging features by default.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744381)

I forgot to mention Facebook and Twitter are also totally incompatable with anything not on their own system. I can't request a new /. password be sent to my facebook account, or any paypal invoices

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743313)

Absolutely right.

Email is useful for formal communication, for a long term record of something -- e.g. for CYA. It is also possible to get some work done by only checking mail at certain points of the day.

IM, Twitter, Facebook etc really are of very limited use in a business situation -- they are slower and clumsier than a phone conversation or face to face. Probably useful in situations where no phone is available (or VOIP for international calls) or for quick mass distributed maessages, but other than that they are inferior communication systems -- people just like them, that's all.

Nothing kills productivity more than IM. I'm astonished that businesses use it, it makes very little sense.

Re: "Get Work Done" (0, Offtopic)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743471)

Hi Owl.
Sometimes "work" means drilling off some fast answer "JIT". (Remember that craze? I find it's better to have just a little slack.)

Leave the email up shrunk to the side. Watch the randomness float in. Send President@YourCompany his four answers, and the other 22 emails can wait. ReplyToPres / (Answer) / Send is absolutely as fast as anything else.

Re: "Get Work Done" (1)

greyline (1052440) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743821)

What?

Re: "Get Work Done" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29744119)

*head asplode*

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743483)

Nothing kills productivity more than IM. I'm astonished that businesses use it, it makes very little sense.

Your post is solid except for quoted statement. IM is quite good at dropping informal notes, or quick questions. Also - The ability to add people to the conversation allows us to have a discussion instantly... In cases where the conversation only needs a few minutes, we can have the discussion, make a decision and conclude the whole matter in the amount of time it'd take to schedule the con call and get everyone dialed in.

Yes, it can be misused. But so can any other method of communication... Especially email.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743957)

But I though that was why you CC the entire company.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743635)

Nothing kills productivity more than IM. I'm astonished that businesses use it, it makes very little sense.

In addition to what the other posts said, IM is good for sending bits of code to other programmers to look at. Sending code over the phone doesn't work as well.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743331)

....Always on? ... My mail is always on, and will notify of new mail instantly ... Facebook and Twitter, I only log on once or twice a day,and get notified of important new items ... *by email*

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743377)

Most modern "smartphones" have a facebook app, and a lot of people these days have unlimited SMS that they can use with twitter. Between those two (facebook and twitter) popping up in my blackberry inbox alongside regular email, I'm pretty much "always on". I don't always respond the same day though. That's one reason why I couldn't get rid of my Blackberry for an iPhone - because it consolidates 100% of my messaging (including voice) into a single device. Now that I have google voice, my email is once again a contender, but cell phones these days actually outperform desktop computers as communication devices these days.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743485)

I might be "always on", but that doesn't mean I'm immediately reachable. My cellphone is strictly personal. My business communication comes thru, guess what, email. My non-business communication might be phone, text, email, Facebook, or (God help me) Twitter. But at any random time I might be busy at work, in a meeting, driving, or taking a crap. In which case I probably won't respond to a message, and if my phone's on vibrate I might not even know of it.

For me, there's little difference between checking my voicemail, texts, FB, and (ugh) tweets, and checking my olde reliable email.

Niche Tools (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743419)

Email is the killer app. These other thingies are nice niche addons(plugins!?) but they won't replace email.

The only major nuisance to email is slight visual noise. (I DON'T count spam! I mean legit notes.) It might be nice to have a 1-click "you have a phone call" for the frontline admins. But darn near EVERYTHING else gains value from being logged.

Anyone who thinks they can super-promote twitter-clones is forgetting the lovely CYA bit.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743427)

Our company does not allow IM for these exact reasons, it kills work flow. We started blocking it back when ICQ was just getting started. We also don't use facebook and the like but we do use less personal collaboration software with some of our clients, but never for inter-office communications.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743465)

Having to deal with everything I get via SMS/IM instead of email is pretty close to my idea of the lowest ring of hell. There is no way Dante could have ever dreamed up a torture so hideous and cruel.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743591)

I agree with what you said about it and would add that we have this magical thing called "Time Zones" which the article seems to have forgotten. I, in California, am unlikely to find my colleagues in the UK or Kazakhstan on instant messenger in the afternoon (my time) when they are home in bed (or at least at dinner).

Another thing is email is generally a much better medium for actually writing more than quick "time for lunch?" or "you sit by the window, is it raining?" type queries.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (5, Insightful)

tonyAG (655960) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743705)

I'm in agreement with this as well. I'm so tired of businesses and employers thinking that I always want to be 'on'. This is their desire and dream.

This is why I'm more protective of my time and privacy. Once you are leashed by today's technology, it become very hard to rid yourself of that shackle.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (5, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743939)

There are basically three forms of communication we use:

1) Synchronous Conversation - face-to-face, telephone, IM

2) Asynchronous Mail - snail mail, email, fax, telegraph

3) Broadcasting - mass media, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google Wave

The article muddles all three together without recognizing that there's a place for each.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

shock1970 (1216162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744205)

I've noticed since I've been on facebook that the number of emails I get per day has gone down. Facebook is very useful for sharing thoughts and information with friends and family, when the importance of someone seeing your message isn't a priority. If it's a friend or family member and the message is important I'll either use FB mail or regular email, though I feel regular email is more reliable and its more likely that someone will check their email before their FB page.

Though I find myself using regular email less and less, its still the best way to send/receive attachments as well as to get periodic notifications, newsletters, ads, etc.

For immediate communication and for short question/answer engagements, so typical in a work environment, IM works the best. But there's no gaurantee I'll be right there to get the message. The same goes for SMS messaging.

But if I really want to communicate with someone right away where I want confirmation of my message and the priority of the message is high... and call me old fashioned if you wish... I use the phone. The best thing about phone calls is that you get the message across, and you know the recipient receives the message if you are there talking to them face to face. Even though you might not get the response you need right away, you usually come away with getting a commitment to the response right away.

Re:The Right Tool for the Right Job (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744377)

Because you don't always need some response within 15 secs, nor do you want to always be responding to some questions that take away your time and concentration. Even if you have your email client open all the time, you can leave writing a reply to it for later time.

If you know you need a quicker response, you send an IM or call my phone. Something in between and you send an SMS.

For that matter I dont want everyone to know everything about me, I dont want everyone to know I'm available or not, I dont want everyone to know all the other people I know, nor do I want everyone to know something that only certain people should know.There's also no way you'll get me to install facebook or twitter apps on my phone. If I'm not on computer, there's no need to contact me other way than calling me (and I dont even always keep my phone with me - if I'm busy with other stuff, I'll call you back on better time)

You do not need to instantly respond to instant messages, nor do you need to indicate if you are online or not (most people are just constantly "away" in my experience).

Email is dead (5, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743149)

Long live email.

Because it doesn't require my instantaneous attention and I get to control when I reply.

Re:Email is dead (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743413)

Yes I agr...
Wait a minute, I just got an e-mail.

Yet another misleading title (3, Informative)

Roland Deschene (985837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743157)

The article in question is not saying email is dying. In fact, it says email usage is growing:

> Little wonder that while email continues to grow, other types of communication services are growing far faster.

No, not "dying". Just perhaps not peoples first choice for today's on-line communications.

Re:Yet another misleading title (1)

craagz (965952) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743373)

Yeah, When I read the summary, i was thinking. well I get Twitter and Facebook invitations, updates, password resets and other such event notifications through email. Certainly, email is not dead, but growing.

Email won't be dead while there still live people like Robert Mueller, almost falling for a Scam mail. Thus encouraging Spammers to keep their servers busy sending mails.

More social site users that email users? WTF? (2, Interesting)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743801)

Finishing the alinea you started quoting from:

"In August 2009, 276.9 million people used email across the U.S., several European countries, Australia and Brazil, according to Nielsen Co., up 21% from 229.2 million in August 2008. But the number of users on social-networking and other community sites jumped 31% to 301.5 million people."

Pardon me? 277 million people using mail, 301.5 million using social networking sites?

Am I mistaken in thinking that you actually need an emailaddress to join such a site? How do the 25 something million people manage to get their passwords, notifications etc?

This is just uninspired journalism. Don't know what to write, predict the demise of settled technology X in favour of new technology Y.

Re:More social site users that email users? WTF? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744425)

Amateur journalism, what more do you expect?

google wave? come on now... (3, Interesting)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743167)

i find google wave rather annoying. maybe because too few of my friends are on it, maybe because it's a whole new way of "emailing." maybe because it's not meant as a communication tool but rather as a collaboration tool. Either way, I don't see it replacing email anytime soon. or ever.

Re:google wave? come on now... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743279)

Ill take your account on Google Wave any day!

Re:google wave? come on now... (2, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743367)

The thing with Wave is that it *is* an email replacement. If you use it a certain way, it's directly analogous to email.

You can then *choose* to bring Wave's other features into your conversation.

The way I see it, email is almost perfect, except that sometimes it would be better to insert comments directly into someone's message, than to paste a quote into my reply. Sometimes it would be better to edit someone's text directly, than to reply with my suggested amendments. And Wave let's you do that.

Like email, it won't take off unless you have a critical mass of contacts on it. It's no good using Wave to organise a BBQ, if most of the people I want to invite don't have Wave. I tried to push adoption of email in an organisation which didn't already use it, once. People would seldom check their inbox, because it was usually empty. People used other methods to contact people, because they knew email inboxes seldom got checked. Catch 22.

Re:google wave? come on now... (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743795)

I got my wave invite this morning, and you're exactly right.

It's got all the benefits of email (you can choose when/if to reply) and of IM (instant conversation, if you so choose), but until some people I know start using it, I won't be using it at all.

Re:google wave? come on now... (1)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743509)

The largest advantage to wave I see (as well as the biggest potential issue) is authentication. Right now anyone can spoof email.. That should be over if people would switch to something like Wave.

The trouble with... (2, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743187)

... things like Facebook and Google Wave is that surely not everybody subscribes to them. I certainly don't want a million different accounts, and nor will bother with Google Wave. Everybody has email though.

Re:The trouble with... (1)

muffen (321442) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743347)

Only a few months ago did I manage to explain how email works to my parents (and what the purpose of email is).
Somehow, I don't think I'll see my father on facebook any time soon, and just the thought of my mother using Google Wave makes me chuckle.

I seriously doubt e-mail is being replaced anytime soon. There are a lot of companies having issues with in-the-cloud spam filtering for email, I just cannot see them accepting the loss of control of their data by moving to Google Wave.

Re:The trouble with... (1)

chainz (1342259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743449)

I just cannot see them accepting the loss of control of their data by moving to Google Wave.

I think you have missed one of the features of Google Wave, the protocol is a Federation Protocol. Which means it is not a cloud based system (although it can be, just as email can be), it is housed on your own servers just as email is.

Re:The trouble with... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743353)

I don't have email yet.
I'm waiting for SMTP over twitter.

Re:The trouble with... (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743421)

I don't subscribe to Facebook and Twitter, and I feel pretty confident in saying that I never will. Facebook would be just one more web site I have to visit, and Twitter... I can't even imagine a use for it in my life.

Another overlooked e-mail strength (5, Insightful)

hotdiggity (987032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743197)

The article doesn't mention a major advantage of "legacy" e-mail - it's a standard that isn't tied to any particular company.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, whatever, are "single-source vendors" of their particular products, and they can be subject to any kind of financial, moral, political, or technological problems.

E-mail has no such dependencies. The only way to take it down is to take down the Internet in general. (Spam overloading aside.)

Re:Another overlooked e-mail strength (4, Insightful)

joh (27088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743349)

E-mail has no such dependencies. The only way to take it down is to take down the Internet in general. (Spam overloading aside.)

And even then it's quite trivial to set up small networks using UUCP or SMTP to get email going again...

Anyway, the major reason that email isn't getting the attention it deserves (other than by spammers) is the fact that it's very hard to make money from it. It's somewhat like a free service available to all and the companies living off the net are too eager to have it fallen by the wayside and to have you use other services they *can* exploit and lock you in.

It's the same with mailing lists and usenet being replaced by a myriad of different blogs and forums. A few years ago I was able to read and participate in dozens of lists and newsgroups investing maybe half an hour a day. Now keeping track of a similar diversitude of blog articles and comment threads and forums and RSS feeds and Twitters and whatnot would require me to be on it full-time. It's madness.

I totally agree! (2, Funny)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743207)

In fact, I think I'll send them an email right now to let them know.

silly (1, Insightful)

Frogg (27033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743209)

i'll put my hands up and say i've not read the article - and i'll certainly not be wasting my time doing so.

but is anyone really so stupid to think that email (which is based upon open standards and is already running on hundreds of thousands of servers and comes installed by default on most servers) will ever be replaced by fecebook and twatter???

a few years ago i guess the same idiots would also be including myspaz on that list too? (and what is next years fad?)

email dying? pffffft - what a bunch of idiots (can't they see that?)

Actually (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743215)

The main shortcoming of Facebook is archival. Other than that, it's far superior for personal communication that I might otherwise do over email.

But archival is not worth the danger. My grandchildren, if they care about my correspondence, will have my email folders to look through to learn a bit about those that came before them.

Re:Actually (2, Informative)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743259)

It's interesting to bring up Facebook here, because, while it does allow us a much better way to communicate with our friends, it also is not an "email killer". In fact, it makes integral use of email. I get emails all the time telling me that someone "commented on my status".

Re:Actually (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743269)

if they care about my correspondence, will have my email folders to look through to learn a bit about those that came before them.

I hardly ever look into my email archive; And I wouldn't think the people coming after me would take the time or effort skimming all those 1000-s of emails ...

Re:Actually (2, Interesting)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743865)

I think you'll find that when you DO have occasion to look into your email archive, it's much easier to find a specific email than to find a specific tweet or facebook update.

Re:Actually (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743979)

For quotidian stuff like purchase orders and meetings, sure, but for the sort of thing that grandkids are going to want to see, it's really hard to sort through all the junk for the personal stuff. Facebook only has personal communications.

Perhaps (1)

Grimnir512 (1449641) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743217)

We should not get rid of E-mail so much as improve it. E-mail could be easily improved by adding ideas such as threading which would quite easily overcome the complicated mess that is quoting.

Re:Perhaps (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743303)

> We should not get rid of E-mail so much as improve it. E-mail could be easily
> improved by adding ideas such as threading which would quite easily overcome > the complicated mess that is quoting.

Everything needed for threading is already there in the "References:" header line and decent MUAs such as Gnus fully support it.

Re:Perhaps (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743371)

Email already has a threading mechanism, you just need to use a client that supports it. In fact, there are two such mechanisms: In-Reply-To and References headers, either one of which can be used to construct a threaded view. Try using KMail, Evolution, Thunderbird, etc.

Re:Perhaps (1)

joh (27088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743375)

Every email has a message ID and points at the email it refers to. Every sane email client under the sun has had threading since ages. It's not that email has a problem here, it's just that many email clients suck.

Cloud computing: Fail! (0)

taobeastie (1635647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743287)

Personally, I do not enjoy the prospect of cloud computing and not having the ability to download my emails for offline use. The area of the US where I live is known more for moonshine, not high speed internet access. So, here's my thought: Until we have a fully functional world wide web, where anyone can connect with anything from a cell phone, an ipod touch, a personal computer, or a television and use the www interactively for any purpose from absolutely any location, with ZERO downtime, we will not have the ability to scrap email or the hard disk drive. -Just a thought --TaoBeastie

Re:Cloud computing: Fail! (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743533)

While most of my computers and my iPhone use the cloud email (Imap). My laptop is set to download it pop style. A script to move them and mark them as read is done. This way ihave the best of both worlds when email fails.

Those who don't know history (4, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743293)

So the call is for a collaboration / communication system which works like email but can pull in large groups that has an open standard.

Sounds like a call to bring back and update Usenet.

Re:Those who don't know history (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743393)

Bring it back from where? Usenet still exists and is still used in certain communities (crypto, math).

Just Like the Internet Dying in 2010 (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743307)

In related news, Nemertes President Johna Till Johnson is still convinced that the internet will meet its end [arstechnica.com] by 2010. Back in 2007 they claimed that the "exponential" growth in demand for bandwidth will butt up against the "linear" investment in networking technology causing brownouts and no internet by 2010. And as recently as May of 2009, they have been still saying this! Then in October 1st the same company claimed that Net Neutrality will end the internet (or at least as we know it). Which causes me to wonder ... what kind of business model is Nemertes running? Do they stand to profit from this FUD or establish themselves as expert prophets if one of these things happens?

Really, the biggest question is ... why would the WSJ throw their journalistic integrity on the line for this kind of news? What did they gain at the risk of look like Popular Mechanics who in 1951 speculated we would all have personal helicopters in our garage [berkeley.edu] ?

Corporate data? Not even the start! (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743327)

Would you trust Facebook, with its odd history of rights control, with a corporate Excel file?

Hell no. I wouldn't even trust Facebook to reassure my mother about a doctor's visit, or talk to my brother about his family. It's creepy the things people use social networking tools for, sometimes. It's like going down to the local bar and yelling out the results of your blood tests to whatever yobboes happened to be in earshot.

Yes, technically, email can be intercepted. So can phone calls and physical letters. And someone can be listening in on you in the restaurant, even if you keep your voice down. But... damn...

Re:Corporate data? Not even the start! (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744003)

It's creepy the things people use social networking tools for, sometimes. It's like going down to the local bar and yelling out the results of your blood tests to whatever yobboes happened to be in earshot.

I've seen nearly that very thing. Two former HS classmates of mine are my "friends" (take note of the quotes) on Facebook. One day I saw friend #1 make a "wall" comment to friend #2 about the results of her OB/GYN visit. Seriously people, wtf!?

Re:Corporate data? Not even the start! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29744427)

Well, you should have commented: "WTF?? Sorry I messed up that area of your body in HS."

Premature Declaration? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743333)

moar liek Premature Ejaculation, amirite???

Tried to RTFA... (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743345)

I tried to RTFA (well, not the first one, but the response from Fast Co) and failed. I got as far as:

Twitter's on every tech-fan's lips

(the first five words) and gave up. I'm a tech fan, but Twitter just doesn't interest me as it is. Making communication that short and easy just leads to drivel (or people using Twitter as an RSS feed for their site - I'll watch the site and its real RSS feed, thank you). Threading is hopeless in things like Twitter and while it might be semi-useful for faster conversations, it won't be as good as a proper IM client for a group chat.

Time to Adopt the Spam Form for this: (5, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743383)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to replacing email. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can still use the service, so it has no benefit over email.
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
(X) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
(X) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(X) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for messaging
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(X) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
(X) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
(X) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
(X) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
(X) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Attachments can go to hell (0)

CXI (46706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743439)

(where do the attachments go?)

Attachments can go to hell, that's were they can go. We need to setup our communication methods correctly such that the message does not become the storage medium! I spend way too much time, effort and money trying to deal with people keeping files in their email and email archives as if it were a valid storage location. It just wasn't designed for that. So, I'm all for anything that makes it impossible to keep attachments directly with the message!

Re:Attachments can go to hell (1)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743595)

Do you have some solution to the "attachment problem"?

There are (many) instances when you need to send a document or some other file to someone via email. I agree that email is not a *good* storage medium, but how is it not valid?

Re:Attachments can go to hell (1)

CXI (46706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744019)

Do you have some solution to the "attachment problem"?

Is it necessary for me to have a solution to a problem in order to note that it's a problem? Not in my book. If no one can question something unless they can fully replace it, then we'll make zero progress, ever. Brainstorming is exactly what needs to be done, to get all ideas good and bad out on the table and find what will truly work. I really hate the "if you can't fix it, don't complain" attitude. It serves no purpose.

I agree that email is not a *good* storage medium, but how is it not valid?

It's not valid from a business standpoint for any reasonably organized office structure. That's plain to see in multiple areas such as: searching; backups; organized storage structure; multi-user access; reduction of redundant storage; effective sharing; version control; audit trails; etc. These are all mostly solvable using local solutions, the big issue is that there is no good universal system that handles this transparently. There are dropbox related services that are getting there but they aren't transparent enough to replace the current ease of just attaching a file and hitting send. I'll agree that unless a system is universally supported, it isn't going to be effectively used.

Re:Attachments can go to hell (1)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744357)

I didn't mean to imply that you need to have a solution to complain about a problem. A hobby of mine is to complain about all sorts of things I don't have solutions for. Sorry about that.

Re:Attachments can go to hell (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743875)

My mother solved that problem by deleting every email that comes in with an attachment. One of her idiot friends told her that attachments were used to attack computers, and now every attachment is seen as someone attacking her PC.

More to your point, it is not just attachments stored in email. Mom also uses the URL dropdown in the browser as a substitute for bookmarks, and gets upset when someone else uses the computer because it makes her favorites drop off the list.

What needs to be dealt with is the lazy, untrained at the beginning, developing bad habits. How that will get done is beyond me. I don't try and do any computer work for Mom because all she will do is argue with me. If she has to pay for someone to come in and set things up, she will listen to them because she is paying for it. And, I don't get stuck doing tech support from a thousand miles away. Unfortunately, that means email stores attachments (in the in box, of course), and history equals bookmarks.

Newspaper Drinking Game (0)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743451)

Between the calls that the US President is the worst yet, the stories that we are living the the darkest of days, the we've already cover that but we'll cover it again articles, and now the premature calls of the end of some technology; I'm having a really difficult time keeping up with the number of shots I should be doing. I see now why drinking games were invented. To keep all the repeated things sounding fresh.

Outlook for work, Facebook for play. (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743487)

Most people I know (non-techies) use Outlook for work communication and Facebook for friend communication. I can't help feeling that if Sharepoint was all that Microsoft promised it would be, we'd be using it for work communication like we use Facebook. But when people have to call IT support to ask how to move a document from one folder to another, it's not going to get that far...

Good. Now leave me alone. (2, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743525)

Someone please send this article to all of the spammers. That way, they'll all move to Fecesbook. I don't have a Fecesbook account, so I don't have to see their spam (for that matter, I'd rather read Viagra ads than "25 Things About Me" pages anyway).

Email isn't going anywhere. Fecesbook is a fad. Everyone has an email account. Email is also (in theory at least) guaranteed delivery.

Re:Good. Now leave me alone. (2, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743583)

No, email is best effort delivery.

Re:Good. Now leave me alone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743891)

Guaranteed? I suppose you don't admin any MTAs and don't know what you are talking about.

Why Facebook and twitter will prematurely die. (2, Insightful)

vegaspace (1253656) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743553)

I think that Facebook and Twitter will die before email, because email has not a propertary service and FB an TW are owned by someone.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. (-1, Redundant)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743559)

Re:I've said it before and I'll say it again. (2, Interesting)

jours (663228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744157)

I modded it flaimbait before, and if I had mod points, I'd do it again.

still hoping for a rebirth (2, Funny)

dalewj (187278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743569)

As a ccmail consultant i'm still hoping!

The "Haves" can't contemplate life without (1)

ChronoFish (948067) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743679)

If you live in a rich-media world - iPhone for example - where you never have "just text" you can't contemplate a world where "just text" will do.

There are several incarnations of this. Mac vs DOS, Windows vs Linux, GUI vs Command line, and now "Wave" vs eMail.

Those who use "just text" know it will work anywhere. Those who are immerse in rich-media will push the envelope of user experience.

Is one better than the other? I don't think so. Will one prevail over the other? Doubtful. Will you use Google Wave or some other social networking - most probable - if only to have a look. Should you get rid of your POP/IMAP/SMTP servers? I wouldn't (and wont').

-CF

E-Mail ain't broke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743745)

Don't fix it!! Go find a cure for cancer!!

Us locked down guys have no choice! Email or NADA. (1)

jakekatz (1656533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743759)

Well, let me give you a bit about my workplace: No cell phones (or any derivative thereof) allowed in, they stay in the car. Networking uses WebSense with every conceivable word the Christian Right hate to use on the "Dirty Word List" and block any site the even hints of a smell of "Social Networking" is blocked. Any type of streamed video, I.E, CNN, YouTube etc... are blocked. Anything that resembles online messaging is also blocko!!! What am I trying to say, at our workplace, we [[ live & die by email ]] it's our life blood, so we always muse at these prognosticators who get so wound up in the 'pop' culture of these networking sites that they dis everything else around them. Sigh.

...we are the borg; (1)

scorpivs (1408651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743823)

lower your firewalls and power-down your preferences; twitting and booking face are the collective versions of email; your financial and technological distinctiveness will be adapted to suit our own; you will be assimilated; individuality is futile...

Help! What do I do next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743849)

After reading the article I deleted all of my email accounts. Then I went to sign up to this Facebook thing and it asked for my email address! What do I do now?

Posted as AC because I've forgotten my password but haven't got anywhere to send the reminder to :-(

I was going to ask this question on the WSJ site but when I tried to sign up to post comments, it asked for my email address too!

Never Have, Never Will (1)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743931)

What about those of us who do not, and will not, have facebook, myspace, twitter, or anything else of the sort? When did society become so reliant on knowing everything about everyone they have ever seen on the street? If I don't see you at least twice a week, do not consider us "friends," perhaps acquaintances at most.

As mentioned above, if you need to get ahold of me, call me. If you don't have my number, you probably don't need to get ahold of me THAT badly.

more social networker users than email users? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29743953)

I don't get those numbers:

In August this year, 276.9 million people in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Brazil used email (that's equivalent to 90% of the U.S. population). Last year the same figure stood at 229.2 million, meaning a rise of 21% has occurred. But, on the other hand, this August some 301.5 million people used a social-networking type of site

How can that be if you need an email account to even register at twitter or facebook?

Maybe they meant.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29743977)

Maybe they meant that email on the mainframe is dead?

I love it when the Wall Street Journal does this (1)

Dudeman_Jones (1589225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744005)

I wonder when they are gonna realize that we aren't listening..... mostly because of articles like this one...

You just don't remove email (2, Interesting)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744051)

Email will be with us a long long time from now. Not to say it will not expire, it eventually will, just not in near future. Society is structured as a pyramid of services, where services covering more use are layered on the bottom, supporting and being used by higher levels of services. Humans rely on several such base services - acquiring food, necessary common wealth, relationships & communicating, which are provided/made convenient by higher level services - snail mail (post offices), useful clothing etc. Email is another level on top of the level of computing - a basic human need to offload energy use to machines - a very basic abstraction of communication system, also meaning that it is many levels below such services as Facebook and whatever else similiar. You do not remove base service if you have your sanity in behold, and before you can definitely replace it with something equally powerful. Email is so simple and so basic it covers a lot of ground. This is the bottomline. Those who claim it will be replaced better have something equally simple and powerful or they simply have no idea how the world works, which is a whole different problem in itself - the kind of problem that makes you read more books, eat healthier and sometimes subscribe to therapy sessions.

Confidential facebook? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744085)

Yes, thanks to the wall-street journal I'll be sure to put all of my work-confidential (and someone will be sure to put their military top-secret) plans on Facebook, myspace, and google docs.

Internal e-mail, internal sharepoints, etc are the way to go. Companies are starting to incorporate internal sharepoints because it saves bandwidth then trying to e-mail 100 people a 5 mb PDF file (which network admins just LOVE). Especially since each time someone modifies the do cument they forward it back to the 100 people...where-as sharepoint can keep different versions of the same document - and overall saves space. That, however, won't replace the e-mail...it just means that the e-mail will contain a URL to the sharepoint site. Unless someone e-mails me I don't go to the sharepoint and most people are like that - how else will I know when someone uploaded a doc that is relevant to me.

But facebook? Yea right....

Re:Confidential facebook? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744385)

Multi-terabyte samba shares FTW.

Wow does anyone still use (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744115)

Twitter? :)

i first read that as.... (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744197)

Emeril...... i was scared for a second.... BAM!

Its all about Context (2, Interesting)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744227)

Google Wave (as soon as they open it up to the unwashed masses) has as one of its big features that the "Legacy Services" are invited to the party.
To this day you could write out on a parchment with a Quill Pen a message seal it with a wax seal and then hand it to a guy that can hop on a horse
and then ride to another guy that will ride to another guy (loop here several times) and then hand it to whomever you wanted it to go to.

Someday Email will be seen as being just as quaint but stuff that works should not be discarded just because its "old" (because its dangerous yes because its illegal yes but just because its old NO).

Excuse me i see a messenger at my door step.

The march or technology (2, Interesting)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744261)

Twitter and Facebook will replace email just like email replaced the telephone. And the telephone replaced paper mail.

Seriously. We still use those older technologies for certain things. But some of the jobs they were asked to perform before have been reassigned to new tools.

Telephone was better than paper mail for conversations that needed lots of back-and-forth communication. Email was better than telephone for correspondence that was detailed yet not time-critical. Facebook is better than email for updates that will interest your friends if they have a spare moment but aren't worth bothering everybody in your address book or starting an accidental reply-all storm.

So I think the author is right that we've reached the end of the era when every communication task will get shoehorned into email. But email will continue to do what it's best at (and a few things it's not) for a long time to come.

The claim is really about form, not method. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29744345)

The claim that instant messenging will replace email is really about form, not the method used.

This is very easy to show - for example, let's say that the "convention" was that all your Instant Messages were written like emails to somewhat known business associates. You start them with Dear Sir or Dear Mr. Bobbysocks, and finish with a Yours Sincerely. In this case, instant messages would be indistinguishable from the emails of today, so any talk of instant messanging "replacing" email would be bollycocks.

Therefore, for the claim not to be absurd, you would have to say that instant messenging replaces email and retains the form of today (because we have discounted it changing to the form that emails have). Is that likely? Sure, in the heads of some utopianists who except the convergence of the brotherhood of humanity, but in mine, probably not. Not all CEOs appreciate instant messages with "hey m8 could u hire me im good innit". There could of course be a third "form" developed which was unlike both emails and instant messages of today, but it's difficult to guess what that would be.

A big problem for those claiming that email will disappear is that there have already been developed a very large number of possible technological alternatives, but these haven't destroyed email so far. You'd therefore have to speculate about future developments, like telepathic or emotional messenging, and then it's all up in the air. /removes extra large brain-hat.

just one problem.. (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29744451)

Aside from the attachment issue- Twitter, SMS and Facebook all have character limits. Email can go on for DAYS (No really, how many times have you gotten some letter forwarded to half the planet that you spend 30 min reading "LoL' and "OMG" till you finally see the photo of a donkey wearing a rain coat)? but seriously folks- yes perhaps the day to day emails over fairly trivial stuff will decline- but I know for my company i answer nearly 100 emails a day, with no sign of it stopping. In fact, its up 25% from last year.
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