End of email?
A lively debate began on Monday when a newspaper stated that the best days of email as a communication medium were behind it. WSJ writer Jessica Vascellaro didn't claim that email was a goner but she did argue that its significance had been dramatically reduced in an 'always-on' world of text messages, status updates and Tweets. Perhaps the most persuasive counter argument came from Blue State Digital, a firm with solid social media credentials (they helped one of their clients get elected as President of the United States last November). BSD listed Obama's 13 million email addresses as one of his most important assets during the campaign and made the case that control of an email list should remain a key objective of most other causes and businesses as well. Word To The Wise addressed the same concept at a more basic level - that ownership and control of email creates a powerful personal archive that is not subject to someone else's policies. The blog Broadstuff felt that many of the problems that people associate with email were symptoms of its sheer size and maturity, a theme that received unexpected support when both Twitter and Facebook were forced to launch anti-spam initiatives this very week.
Ironically, several bloggers pointed to research showing that the introduction of smart phones boosted the use of email amongst the constantly connected. The Email Insider had data to show that a decline in email usage by college students has reversed in 2009 as smart phones became ubiquitous.
Still there is no denying that communication options are growing and that roles are being redefined. Greg Stirling wrote about how the use of email will be affected by new competition and Larry Brauner listed seven things that email marketers should think about if they don't want to get crowded out of the ever changing inbox of online life.