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Facebook Messages–Is Email Dead, Again?

If I had a dime for every eulogy for email written in the last few years, I wouldn’t be writing this post, I would be sailing on my yacht in the Bahamas. But email isn’t going anywhere soon…

Hasn’t enough been said about Facebook’s announcement this
week about the ‘social inbox’–a way to aggregate the way people communicate
with friends via email, IM, and text messages? Well I hope there is room for one more, because I feel I must weigh in.

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If I had a dime for every eulogy for email written in the last few
years, I wouldn’t be writing this post, I would be sailing on my yacht in the
Bahamas. But email isn’t going anywhere soon … definitely not in the workplace. Sure, my kids rarely use email (just to
communicate with me when I am on the road), and I am sure that most of their
friends don’t user it either. But no,
email won’t die, rather it will evolve. Even the Facebook announcement says: “We are also providing an
@facebook.com email address to every person on Facebook who wants one … .[but] to
be clear, Messages is not email … ” Huh? Sure sounds like email to me.

Kidding aside, I think Facebook is on to
something here. The desire to reduce the number of places I need to check
messages is a good thing. At home, this may be Facebook for many people.
Personally, I think Facebook has done a poor job showing they are responsible
with people’s personal information and I don’t want to put all my contact eggs
in the Facebook basket, but ‘I get it.’ On
the other hand, at work, the unifying platform for the foreseeable future will be email. It is where people spend their working hours. A recent uSamp survey
showed that 25% of business people spend half their day in email, and over 75%
spend at least two hours every day in email. Since the popular email platforms, like
Outlook and Notes, are built on extensible client architectures, it just makes
sense that companies will offer products that use email as the aggregation
point for personal communication apps, like email, instant messaging, and voice
over IP telephony. So email isn’t going
anywhere soon.

Oh, and by the way, if
another article appears claiming email is dead … drop me a line to tell me … .by
email.

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About the author

A technology strategist for an enterprise software company in the collaboration and social business space. I am particularly interested in studying how people, organizations, and technology interact, with a focus on why particular technologies are successfully adopted while others fail in their mission. In my 'spare' time, I am pursuing an advanced degree in STS (Science, Technology, and Society), focusing on how social collaboration tools impact our perceptions of being overloaded by information. I am an international scholar for the Society for the History of Technology.

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