At one point we depended on email for much of our online correspondence. However, things have changed a lot in recent years. Now it seems like social media and messaging reign supreme. Email certainly isn’t used as it once was, but is it in danger of becoming the next 8-track cassette or VHS tape? We asked a few of our writers, “Will email start to get phased out in 2017?”
Robert doesn’t see any evidence of email getting phased out. He sees “trendy media companies coming out occasionally and saying stuff like they’re a Twitter/Slack-only office and that email is on the way out,” but he thinks email has settled into being something you use for “really important stuff.” He never emails friends, using social media for that, but if it’s something work-related, “email is still the way to go.” He thinks it’s found it’s “niche,” and cracks, “Where else would I put all the obligatory junk sent to me by the 1,385 shopping sites I’ve signed up for?”
Simon agrees, noting “email is so fantastic for business-related communications that I don’t see it being phased out this year.” He realizes we’re not emailing friends as much now that we have social media, “but for everything outside of chatting with friends, email is still very strong.” For it to be phased out, he believes we would need some type of new medium that is better than email and that fills that same niche. But for right now, “email is still the best at what it does, and I don’t see people scrapping it in favour of something else.”
Derrik believes that email is still used “because it’s still the easiest way to communicate with people in private,” meaning much less than social media. He also sees it as the easiest to set up. He doesn’t see it going anywhere “as it is still central to a lot of operations people do online.”
Phil explained how he sees it by comparing modes of communication to music storage mediums. He believes actual cards and letters sent through snail mail will go the same way as vinyl. “Vinyl is special music that has meaning, something I want to keep and treasure,” which is the same for letters from his parents. Day-to-day music is stored on mp3, similar to how he feels about instant messaging, it’s for day-to-day communication. As for email, he compares that to CDs.
I do agree with the others that email is for business, whereas other communication is done in social media and messaging; however, I also see it as an age-related thing. I do email much of my business communication, but at Make Tech Easier, we split our communication between email and HipChat. And my mom insists on still emailing, so we email with her instead of texting, and it drives my adult children nuts, as they’d rather text and don’t have much use for email. So this has made me wonder if the chosen method of youth will eventually take over.
What do you think? Do you think email won’t ever go away because it’s found its niche in business-related communication? Or do you think eventually future generations will do away with it? Do you think we’re just waiting for a better communication tool to replace it? Will email start to get phased out in 2017? Join our conversation and add your comments in below.