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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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HAL 9000 Moderator
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Remember the Paperless Office. Hasn't happened yet and personally I don't believe that E Mail will be ever stop being used.

In reality any Messaging from any Business needs to be stored if only just to prove that no illegal activities where described in it. It's pointless trying to defend your business against a Fed Police Investigation because someone claimed that a entry on a Social Media Site implied that a criminal activity was intended.

When you do not have primary control over your own data you have no control and there is no correspondence of any type that doesn't need to be stored to prove Guilt or Innocence. For instance can you imagine News International messaging anything about Phone Hacking on a Social Media site because they didn't want it in their Companies E Mail?

From my personal experience most people do not think before they post to Social Media and they then wonder why the Police come and charge them with things that they Boast About on Social Media. They manage to convict themselves quite successfully. :^0

Col

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Deadly Ernest
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either the normal phone network of by VoIP? I do see business moving to use VoIP a lot more, especially between their own offices.

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Slayer_
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I use messaging all the time, especially when talking about work order and ticket numbers, or when discussing and sending code snips.
Or just links to youtube videos and dilbert comics :)

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Deadly Ernest
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IM and over a telephone? I don't voicemail so I don't use it on my phone or to leave a message - to me a phone is for voice communication. With ViOP or a normal phone there's a link between the two phones, but for IM I have to go through the IM server involved, adding an extra link; plus I got to have some annoying IM program up and running instead of just picking up the phone.

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monica
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Hi Deadly Earnest - sounds like you have an awful IM system. I love mine and my clients for quick messages and catch-ups especially when the other person is busy and doesn't want to talk but will break out to IM.

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Deadly Ernest
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no difference in being able to talk to someone on the phone or over the headset on an IM. With the phone I don't HAVE to be at the computer to communicate, but I can using ViOP. I also get a quicker response if they're there, and know quicker if they aren't.

If I don't need a quick response, then an email is just as good and they can answer at their convenience.

I do not see an IM program as being a magic comms system, the way some do. I know people who sit there with three of four IMs open and switch between them, sometimes they get caught with one and it's ten to twenty minutes before they check the others again. In that case an email is just as good, while the phone quicker as they leave the PC to answer the phone or respond to Skype if using VoIP.

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Slayer_
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That makes them better.
That and its also nice to see if someone is at their desk two timezones away and if they can answer you right away or not.
Email quickly becomes overkill.

This is very similar to the texting vs talking argument for cellphones.

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Deadly Ernest
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a no answer on a phone call let's you know they ain't available, so an email does the trick.

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CharlieSpencer
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I've never understood why anyone carrying a phone would not use voice as the primary method of communication. Talking strikes me as faster and easier than typing.

I'm not sure what you find formal about e-mail. There's certainly little formal about a phone call. I set the level of formality based on my audience and the message, not the medium.

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Slayer_
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My boss has a thick Russian accent, our BA has a thick Chinese accent. I can't understand a word they say over the phone, but using IM's works just fine, no misunderstandings.
We actually have an informal office rule, the BA is not allowed to say Beach because it comes out like B*tch, the Russian can't say fax cause it comes out as f*cks.

I still phone them if I have something really long to say, but for a quick one sentence, IM's work fine.