I attended the Greater Washington, DC ARMA Spring Seminar recently and was able to participate in a lot of discussions around governing email. Even after all these years, many organizations don’t have email under control.
As I was sharing details from this event on twitter, I received an interesting response from Gina Minks over at Dell.
@piewords I thought email was dead?
I laughed a little at this response. We have all heard many times about email’s demise over the years. I realized…
— Laurence Hart (@piewords) March 26, 2014
When you get down to it, email isn’t going anywhere.
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Did you realize that another Godzilla moving is coming this summer? I didn’t until I was looking for pictures for this post. No matter how many times Godzilla is killed, buried, or sent into space, he always comes back and attacks our cities and kills other monsters.
There was even a period of time where Godzilla was considered a hero, defending Japan from invading forces.
Email has had a similar life. Enterprise 2.0 was supposed to kill email by moving all communication to different social platforms. I know because I kept seeing its death declared in social media.
Yet I kept receiving email from more and more people even when these platforms are in place.
More recently, it has been suggested that email is going to die because the youth of today don’t use email. Many refuse. As they enter the workforce, it is assumed that they will bring these new communication techniques to everyone.
When I was young, I only used email to replace phone conversations or written letters with people in other cities. One was expensive, the other slow. All communications with my local friends was quick. How much work is it to plan to meet at Walt’s place at 8? When I got to the working world, I used email to convey complex thoughts and ideas that I wanted people to be able to refer to as needed.
Today, in the course of work, I use Skype, texts, online meeting platforms, and social tools. I still use email because sometimes it is the best tool on hand to convey complex thoughts and ideas with a diverse group, many of whom may not have access to the same systems.
If I was making a bet, I would say that those email hating youth will adopt it as they enter the workforce.
Bigger and Bigger
I just got back from the 2014 AIIM Conference in Orlando. While I was there, I heard John Montel from the U.S. Department of the Interior speak. During his presentation, he mentioned that they have 70 million emails each month.
70,000,000 email in a MONTH!
I wonder how many of those emails had attachments?
They have to categorize every email and make sure that each one is kept until it is no longer of value to the Department. Remember, not all emails are created equal and while storage is cheap, at 70 million emails a month, it isn’t that cheap.
As Godzilla has grown over the years, so has the volume of email. I do not see it decreasing in the near future. Business is growing more global and the need for us to stay in touch through digital means is only going to increase.
Social tools do reduce the volume of email, but their use requires a cultural shift in the organizations and networks are typically internal or external, rarely both.
Email crosses all lines and boundaries. Until we can find a better, and easier, way to work everywhere with everyone, email is not going anywhere.
We can only hope that email can be a productive tool and not a burden in the next several years because like Godzilla, email is here to stay.