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Email - on its last legs or growing up?

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Email - on its last legs or growing up?

monica
Many say email is fast approaching the end of its life. Is this true? Will social media take over as the dominate business communications channel? Or will we see a 'polymedial' approach where people become far more selective about which tools are used for which purpose?

My own experience and research suggests the latter is the way most organisations are heading. For example if a communication does not need to be retained as a business record and an urgent repose is needed, then instant messaging tools offer a great alternative to email. Meanwhile, news and status updates are well suited to collaborative tools such as wikis and discussions forums. Such an approach also helps reduce the email overload and creates a pull rather than push information culture which is both less stressful and more mature

On the other hand for all communications which need to be retained email will remain the dominant channel. However, currently email is one of the biggest drains on personal and business productivity. It is also wide open to abuse and is often an easy entry point for cyber crime.

With more choice it would not be surprising therefore if people did shun email in favour of other social media which would be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. In five years time we would find ourselves suffering just as badly from information overload.

More to the point is to educate people when and how to use email effectively.

What is your experience?
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Slayer_
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A miss spelled word auto corrected to incontinence

"The system is having an incontinence issue..."


My boss sent that to customers by accident.

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CharlieSpencer
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I find IM to be equally annoying. I can talk a lot faster than I can type, and the lack of a spell checker annoys me to no end. If I need an immediate answer, I reach for the phone first. If it isn't urgent or I don't get an answer, I send an e-mail. I'll respond if a co-worker initiates an IM conversation, but I don't see any advantages in my situation.

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Deadly Ernest
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GSG
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I use IM extensively when I'm helping someone test. I only need to be available if there are issues and they need me to look at what a message looks like in between the sender and receiver. I don't want to stay on the phone the entire time, so they just IM me when I'm needed. It's better than filling up my email as well. That way, I can get some work done instead of just waiting around until I'm needed.

It's also a good way for 1st level tech support to know if I'm at my desk. If it's not an emergency and they need my advice on an issue, they can IM me. However, if they're going to turn over a call to me, they call me instead as it usually requires too many details for an IM.

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monica
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Agree about using the phone. But somehow people will IM before they will either phone or better still walk and talk if in the same office. Does anyone know why?

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Deadly Ernest
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highlander718
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it's because people are no longer confortable talking face to face. Some prefer to "hide behind the screen", it feels safer.

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GSG
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Management in some organizations thinks that if you aren't at your desk, you aren't working. So, IM is available, and people take advantage of it. Plus, if you work in cubicle land, it's probably preferable to IM than pick up the phone and potentially bother everyone in the area.

I agree that face-to-face is best when possible, but I understand why IM is preferred in some situations.

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Slayer_
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It's a big factor.