Will Email Start to Get Phased Out in 2017?

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.”

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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.

7 comments

  1. I just can’t fathom a world without email. Email has replaced the fax as the medium for sending and receiving business documents. People have tried replacing it, from so-called collaborative tools to dropbox type url sharing for files, but none works as well as email. I work in a manufacturing company and it’s not unusual for me to get fifty emails a day. Trust me, all these talk of the-end-of-email is just bluster from myopic technophiles who haven’t worked outside IT. Well, email is the same as the 3.5mm jack.

  2. E Mail isn’t going anywhere…Period. Its the SECOND most used medium in the world of law and legal proceedings, and it can even have an effect on a country’s government (as evidenced by the email scandal with the Presidential elections of 2016!) A lawyer will tell you that “..if it’s not in black and white….it never happened..” well if you don’t have an email saved on your computer, regarding anything with a legal connotation? you’re going to lose whatever case it is you have. As for the youngsters who would LIKE to see it go the way of the dinosaur? They’re out of luck. Email is an important aspect of business just as the photocopy was, it has become the standard method of correspondence not just locally but GLOBALLY, and there’s NO way you’re going to eliminate the one means of communication that allows million dollar deals to take place within minutes via email discussions. This is similar to an argument that is still being discussed today….stating that the PC will eventually die off…this will NEVER happen! For as much as people enjoy using their tablets for selfies….to look up recipes…..and to read / browse the web while waiting for a train or bus? There’s no way they’re going to want to write their college thesis on one! And no programmer worth his weight in salt will EVER consider writing the giant codebase he’s working on….on a tablet or smartphone!….Laptop?….maybe but that would apply only if he’s mobile constantly if he’s pretty much statoned at home or within the office…most likely he/she will be working on a computer. Granted they’re not going to be the giant behemoths that used to crowd space on a desk, as they’ve now gotten them to the size of a sofcover novel, but they’re not going to do away with them altogether. I wish people would stop looking to replace the tried and true and would start to focus on making them more accessible to the masses. Instead of worying about driverless cars, why not improve the computers and software that the local hospital uses?…have you SEEN some of the medical billing programs that are out there? they look like DOS!!!…LoL!

    • Just a quick reality check. I do more than look up recipes and read/browse the Web waiting for a train or bus on my tablet. I do everything on my iPad. And have for several years. I rarely ever go back to my desktop anymore. And yes, I’m stationary while at work. I write and publish for this website on my iPad, and I edit this website on my iPad as well. I do all my research, image work, etc., on my iPad. I’ve already phased out my desktop and laptop, and I’ve seen others doing it as well. And I wouldn’t bank too heavily on email never being phased out. I don’t think you can be sure that anything is here to stay when technology is concerned.

      It’s funny. I used to be a computer typesetter. My mentor told me it was a good job to get into because people would always need to read, and books and newspapers were never going to go away. Well, the job doesn’t even exist anymore. It was rolled into graphic design. And people don’t need someone else to do their typesetting anymore on a computer because they all have their own computers and can do it themselves. And have you seen what has happened to newspapers and books? Magazines too for that matter? You can’t ever be too sure what technology is going to replace.

      • Granted, yours is a somewhat “typical” mindset of the masses today, but once again I point you in the direction to law, and business (the corner stones of most of the capitalist world!) and you’ll notice that while the “dev/ops” department might be the Apple-junkieswith al manner of gadgets and tech-toys….the “suits” who make the important decisions? use email and not Twitter or Facebook or any type of Social media to conduct business. Sure writing can be done from a tablet, and while you might find comfort in that? I once again point you towards the developers who’s entire codebase can be found on their hard drive, do they want to risk losing all that work because their tablet was stolen / damaged? Nope. no matter how you might want to paint the picture, email is here for the long haul. Granted you and your coworkers might not use it much, but most of the business sector, the technology sector, and the medical sector use and will continue to use email. Its the only way you can write a long paragraph or two…..thinking about what you want to say, without fear of your thumb or ring finger changing their last few words into a smiley face. Sorry, but your example is individualistic to your situation. I happen to know developers and programmers, and they’ve ALL told me they’d rather have their fingers removed than to try and write code on a tablet, regardless of whether it’s Apple built or otherwise. The more things change? the more they stay the same. Will email be around forever? I dunno, I’ll bet I won’t be alive to find out, who knows?…..maybe at some point writing itself won’t be necessary as the human race will have technological implants that can convert brain-wave patterns into telepathic thought, but until then? email reigns supreme as a way of communicating not just locally but globally. Someone doesn’t have to be up at 4AM somewhere else on the globe in order to communicate with you, or conduct business. And both parties have the leisure of saying what they want and taking their time discussing their intentions.

        • I think you may have missed my point. I was not ever suggesting because I can do my work on a tablet everyone can. I was pointing out more can be done with it than what you were originally suggesting. And just as an aside, there is more to posting an article on a website than just writing it, such as publishing it via WordPress, image work, etc., and the same for editing.

          My point is not that it WILL be replaced. My point was that it could be on its way to being replaced. Sure, the business world is tied to email, but some sides get a little tired of having to conduct their business through it. It’s like how the medical world still uses fax. It’s irritating to patients whose medical case is being held up because no one knows what happened with the fax, if it was sent, etc. But there is no reason to still be doing fax. There are so many ways that could be done that would be faster and more efficient. But the medical community is still tied to it. But the more and more doctors offices and hospitals switch to keeping records on a computer and/or tablet, the more chance there is for the fax to go by the wayside. Even at my dentist’s office, I’m not handled a clipboard to update my records on paper – I’m handed a tablet.

          I just think email has the potential to be replaced. Do we have a solid system yet to completely replace it? Maybe not. But I also think it’s a little close-minded to suggest that they will never create a new technology to replace it.

          But more than anything else, I do appreciate you posting your thoughts here and opening up the conversation. That’s what we want to do here at MTE. We want to open up the conversation and hear what other people think.

  3. The idea that social media will replace email is retarded. The technical challenge alone that would be required for a social platform to be used to replace email is huge and even if it was implemented you could say good by to free accounts. You are not even making a like comparison and no businesses will EVER adopt social media as a replacement. For one thing it is not, nor can it ever be secure and it is simply not logical to think it will ever be robust enough to replace email.

  4. I disagree that it’s an age-related thing. My grandparents are 80+ years old and they both have smartphones and use Facebook and WhatsApp on them, every day. They hardly ever use e-mail anymore. Meanwhile, I’m 24 (almost 25) years old and I don’t have Facebook or WhatsApp (I do have Twitter and Instagram, however, but I use the latter more to explore beautiful urban and landscape photos). My mum also uses Facebook and WhatsApp instead of e-mail. My dad uses Facebook and WhatsApp, but he prefers Facebook and e-mail over WhatsApp.

    So as you can see, it’s not an age-related thing when my parents and even my grandparents primarily use social media as a form of communication while I as a youngster hardly ever use social media besides Twitter.

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