The Day the Email Died

Daichis

No, this post is not about a server crash in the cloud nor about a tragic plane crash with Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens aboard. This is about a fast-breaking social trend that’s crossing the workplace/personal barrier and is resulting in a significant social shift that media executives should notice. Social networking and media are growing up and going to work, particularly among younger demographic groups. This changes their expectations and behaviors with respect to media in meaningful ways.

BIA/Kelsey attended a seminar this week where Dion Hinchcliffe, EVP of strategy, Dachis Group, announced the launch of the “Social Business Council,” which is all about applying social media to business. Check it out; it’s free to qualified members and it will help you understand the future of your business, your employees, and the customers and audience members you serve.

The bottom line is that social networking and social media are becoming the way digital natives communicate in their social lives and they are expecting to bring this into their work lives. “Old media” like email and instant messaging are being displaced by collaborative social business solutions including wikis, blogs, shared files, team spaces and communities. This technology is being accepted in the workplace at lightning speed.

This should signal a paradigm shift to local media executives. Social media are filling a core need among users. As they get more sophisticated tools and experiences at work, they will expect this in their personal media experiences as well.

Hinchcliffe cited comScore Global/Morgan Stanley data showing that social networking is surpassing email as the chosen communications platform. There are more than 400 social networks with a million or more users — over 900 million users in the aggregate. Hinchcliffe’s viewpoint is that companies have fallen behind the social media curve but this is changing.

An implication for local media companies is that as audience shift increasingly away from e-mail and instant messaging platforms and spend more time on social networking platforms in both their personal and now work lives, they should revisit both program promotional strategies and their own digital advertising selling priorities. Social media is driving behavioral change faster than many expected.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Infonote

    I cannot see e-mail becoming less “popular” in the workplace. True there is an increase in the use of “social” tools like Skype, LogMeIn and WebEx, but it is complementing and not replacing e-mail.

  2. Rick Ducey

    Thanks for your comment. Admittedly, headline in my post was a bit tongue in cheek. But let me elaborate a bit on my points.

    1. Email is morphing. As recent comScore data show the the use of web email is in decline pretty much across the board and particularly among teens. Email is still hugely popular and making the transition from web email to mobile email.

    2. Email is integrating. As Edelman Digital’s David Armano discussed in his thoughtful post in Harvard Business Review blog, the real point is less about which media are dying and more about how they are becoming integrated into cross-platform solutions.

    3. Email as a corporate information resource is less accessible to collaboration, analytics, archiving, and structured uses than social business platforms. That will create an incentive for companies to drive more use of social business tools and they will encourage employees to use these tools rather than store so much data in personal email files.

    4. Teens in particular are “social natives” and will bring this reality to the workplace as they enter the labor force. Companies will need to adjust.

    5. There actually are relatively few cases of true “media deaths.” Even telex was around until fairly recently.

    Bottom line, do I really think “email is dead”? No. But I do think it’s lifestyle will change dramatically in the years ahead.

  3. Diarmuid Daltún

    Since ATOS announced their plans to abolish email use due to efficiency losses I’ve been keeping an eye out for similary posts but only happened accross this one today. Anyone interested can sign up for OrganisedMinds and check out our Email-Killer!

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