Every few years, some tech writer proclaims that email is dead. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I mean hey, I recently stopped spelling it “e-mail” (for electronic communication) and joined the billions for whom email is a universally recognized, standalone concept.
Why is email here to stay?
Because it works. At its most basic level, email is designed to get information across quickly and effectively. It still does this incredibly well, to the tune of more than 168 million emails sent every minute and over 188 billion emails sent every day!
Email has a low barrier to use, says Thazhmon. Everybody has an email address. It takes three seconds to sign up for one and even our grandparents can use it. Email is the original identifier and we still carry it around and use it as much as we do our own name and, in fact, we are much more likely to change our physical address than our email address.
An email app for everyone.
Thazhmon writes that there has been a lot of incredible innovation in email over the last few years. For instance, you can try Alto or Incredimail if user experience and design is important to you. Mailbox is great if getting to zero emails in your inbox is critical. You can use Tempo if a great calendaring system is what gets you going, and you can download Taskbox if you like to treat your email like a To-Do list.
The bad news is that there isn’t (yet) a single tool that integrates all of these capabilities, because unfortunately, we all use email in very different, very unique and very personalized ways.
What the future holds.
The future of email is uncertain, complicated and slightly perplexing, says Thazhmon. It is primarily driven by two strong trends:
- The volume of emails being sent is still increasing significantly. For instance, top online retailers sent their customers 177 emails each in 2011 and 211 emails in 2012 — an increase of 19% over a year (and 120% over 5 years). This number is going to keep its hockey stick growth mainly because email is still one of the most effective forms of marketing and email still has an incredibly low cost associated with sending it.
- There is a strong push by consumers towards email usage and consumption on mobile devices, which has upended how retailers create and deliver content. In 2012, 43% of email was opened on a mobile device and more people now use their mobile phone to read email than to make a phone call (79%).
Thazhmon puts it perfectly when he says that email might be a messy ball of contradictions now, but in the future it is going to be dynamic, personalized (in real time) and completely interactive. It works now, but it can work better.
Of course if you’re using email with spreadsheets, you may want to link over to that article next.