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Communications Social Networks Technology

Email Is Not Going Anywhere 235

An anonymous reader writes: It seems the latest trend sweeping the online world is the idea that email is on its way out. Kids are eschewing email for any of the hundreds of different instant messaging services, and startups are targeting email as a system they can "disrupt." Alexis C. Madrigal argues that attempts to move past email are shortsighted and faddish, as none of the alternatives give as much power to the user. "Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices. Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled 'web we lost.' It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services." Madrigal does believe that email will gradually lose some of its current uses as new technologies spring up and mature, but the core functionality is here to stay.
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Email Is Not Going Anywhere

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  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:57PM (#47684815) Homepage

    "“There is no point in emailing students any more," he told The Times. "They get in touch with us by social media, especially Twitter, and we’ve had to employ people to reply that way. "

    Only because "they" are idiots (both students and faculty apperently). An autoresponder that tweets back "Dear idiot student. It's called email. We use it for a reason. Use it or don't expect help." is all that they needed to "employ". Allowing students to dictate the use of inefficient mechanisms rather than teaching them the right way is pretty ironic for a school system that purports to be a University.

  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:58PM (#47684821)

    Email Is Not Going Anywhere

    Duh. Instant messaging and email often serve different purposes and priorities. For example, at work, I don't use IM because *my* time is more important than your time. Email allows me to respond according to my schedule. Call me if something's really important.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @12:59PM (#47684825)

    This is not some latest trend. People (mostly clueless tech journalists) have been saying e-mail is going away since ICQ first appeared on the scene. Heck, they may have said it before that, but I first remember the cry of "e-mail is dead" when some tech writer first stumbled upon ICQ. The idea that e-mail is dying is just as stupid now as it was then. E-mail is a standard, e-mail is universally used. How else are you going to activate your IM account or contact a business or notify a wide range of customers about your product updates? E-mail is not going anywhere.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:01PM (#47684839)

    Email is the common denominator in electronic communication. Period. Nothing else can match it when it comes to being well known, compatible with everything, and even its flexibility. Spam sucks, and there are still some issues with the way people USE Email (or incorrectly use it), but it is *the* way business communicates now. I would be crippled at work without Email.

    If you want to talk about a dying communications technology, that would be facsimile. Our fax volume is a small fraction of what it once was. Still important to have around, but people go out of their way to avoid it now. We have large scan-to-PDF-EMail copiers all over, making it so much more convenient, too.

  • And life goes on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:03PM (#47684849)

    Email is only losing the people we want to lose. You know, the ones who broadcast that joke of the day email every day CCed to everybody they know, or have ever heard of. Now, please just be good and take all that to facebook. Thxbai.

  • No wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:08PM (#47684877)
    ... the students are moving to Twitter. The article says that at Birmingham University it took a week or two before the administration responded to emails. That problem is not with email, it is with the University's administration.
  • by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:12PM (#47684889)
    try them as a business communication tool, email beats them hands down
  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:24PM (#47684931) Homepage Journal

    I'd quite like to lose the spammers too.

  • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:27PM (#47684939)
    no, they say "get in touch with social media" because they want their hooks in you and they want to know who your friends are and they want you to advertise to your friends. it's all commercialism and big brotherism. although NSA saves a copy of all emails exchanged so there's big brother for you as well.
  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:30PM (#47684955)

    You missed the point I think. AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy used to rule. Now look, it's Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. They'll have their day too then it will be something else after they pass and e-mail will still be here.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:42PM (#47685011)

    Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

    Time waster, narcissist's dream, enabler for the first two.

  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @01:43PM (#47685015) Homepage

    Everything requires an E-mail account. You need an E-mail account to make a Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. account. It's the "out of band" communications method with which someone can be reached that is universal and not tied to any specific company or provider.

    If E-mail has to go away, something else needs to replace it in this manner. Phone numbers could be one way; there's already services that exclusively use phone numbers to authenticate (Telegram messenger for instance). The problem is most people, including myself, don't want to give their phone number out to everyone. E-mail, I could care less, or create a throwaway account.

    E-mail is too useful. It needs to stick around.

  • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @02:25PM (#47685191)


    How do people sign up for Facebook and Twitter, or practically anything online? By providing your email address as a unique identifier and verifiable communications channel.

    It's pretty much the bedrock of online identity.

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday August 16, 2014 @03:12PM (#47685379)

    try them as a business communication tool, email beats them hands down

    Exactly. While "kids" may "flock" to whatever is "cool" today, eventually you do have to deal with other adults in structured environments.

    With email, usernames can be assigned in a structured fashion. And potentially offensive combinations can be weeded out.

    With closed systems, it is usually first-come-first-served from around the world (and that's not counting multiple accounts per person). So you might not be able to get johnsmith. And "sukmahp3n1s" does not work so well when dealing with other companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @03:45PM (#47685533)

    And what is your yourself to virtually every one of those services? An email address. How do you retrieve your password if you forget it? Email.

    Every one of these services that come and go with such frequency uses email for some level of functionality.

    It might not be a primary method of communication for personal users anymore, but it'll likely remain heavily used as a fallback method of communications long after every popular service mentioned in these comments is gone.

  • SMS billing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday August 16, 2014 @04:11PM (#47685651) Homepage Journal
    My cellular carrier charges 20 cents per sent SMS and 20 cents per received SMS. It gets even more expensive when a message longer than 160 characters has to be broken into multiple SMS messages in order to be delivered. I don't know of any ISPs that charge that much per byte of email.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @05:00PM (#47685797)

    Not really. People who can ONLY be contacted on these closed data-mining marketing platforms generally aren't worth contacting in the first place. I don't miss them one bit.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @05:51PM (#47685991)

    The young ones have already quit using it to communicate with friends.

    No they haven't. Facebook was a fad that was growing with young ones until they realized it sucks and its no longer the place they go. They still send email though. Moving to twitter for some things? Sure ... except when they want to keep things private.

    Newer businesses use newer protocols like RSS to distribute their news feeds.

    RSS has been waning for a while, no one outside the techie community watches RSS feeds.

    I'd have already ditched email entirely, except that too many people assume that an email address is something everyone has, and so without one you're a second-class citizen on the internet, barred from participating in online forums and from making online purchases.

    And there you've just contradicted every point you were trying to make.

    Email is almost dead.

    Except that every alternative you've claiming to it ... assumes you use email. Do you not realize how silly that sounds?

    I know too many people who, while they have an email account, it really isn't something they check every day.

    Me too, but they aren't checking Facebook or twitter every day either.

    because it just isn't the best solution for anything it does

    Thats about the most ignorant statement I've ever seen.

    making it worthless for anything besides communicating with people who haven't yet figured that out

    Which would be pretty much everyone else on the planet except fad following teenagers. Once you get out of high school you'll realize how silly you sound.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:06PM (#47686249)

    I wonder how he thinks people signed up to Twitter, FB etc. You need an email address to get an account.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @10:23AM (#47688713) Journal
    That was more true a year ago than it is now. Modern smartphones and data plans mean that email is becoming as easy as SMS for a lot of people who would previously only check it when they actively went to their computer. This is also true of the older generation, who previously might have turned on the computer once every day or two for email, but now increasingly have tablets that can do email, thanks to companies like Amazon selling appliances that are mainly there for videos and ebooks..

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.