On June 1, 2011, I stopped sending or reading email replacing that elderly and inefficient means of communication with a collection of emerging technologies.
Email, as we have known it, is changing because of identifiable forces:
- greater reliance of open collaboration
- mobile rather than stationary work spaces
- the untamable nuisance of spam replaced by whitelists and other controls
- quick and terse interchanges often while in motion
- many brief highly interactive exchanges constituting a conversation stream
- context appropriate messaging
- highly customizable communications alerts and streams across all devices as desired
While there is strong indication that these changes are driven by age-related demographics, there is no reason that better communication should be the sole property of young people texting or older folks Skypeing with their grandchildren or middle schoolers collaborating with Google Docs or software developers with IRC open in several windows and posting commits to Github.
Several attempts to replace email have come onto the scene and several have gone or faded in promise. Google Plus seemed like a great solution for a while and now seems less so. Diaspora looked like a challenger to Facebook’s walled garden. ello came on quickly and almost as quickly became a footnote.
New email interfaces and enhancements from Google seen in Gmail and in Inbox as well as IBM’s Verse attempt to conquer the problem by using analytics, integration of other streams and more complex interfaces.
Of course, new apps are appearing on mobile devices (see point 2 above) almost daily and the ability to manage their alerts and to integrate their communications streams is stronger as mobile platforms evolve to support more integration of cross app interactions.
It is much easier now to say “I just don’t do email anymore” than it was four years ago. And I expect that #noemail will continue to make more sense to more people in the coming year.