Email is dead, long live email

16 Nov

With 500 million users, Facebook is the World’s biggest social networking site and while Facebook claims its ‘new messaging platform’ announcement yesterday is not meant as a ‘Google killer’, it is bound to have rattled a few cages in the webmail world.

The platform allows you to decide how to send your message, whether SMS, chat or email and the message is received through whichever device (mobile, PC, iPad) works best for the recipient, allowing real-time conversation.

I’m not sure exactly what is so exciting about this; is it not just a Google Wave announcement, which at the time fell on deaf ears? However, stats show that the way kids communicate has moved beyond email and voice, and they’re the future.

Throughout time our means of communication has evolved, from banging sticks in the Caveman days, to the spoken language, to written, to telegram, to post, to email and now apparently email doesn’t quite cut it. So is email dying out?

I admit that in my personal life I sometimes use Facebook to communicate about events and send personal messages, but I do so with the reassurance that the intended recipient receives email notification. And while I have used Twitter to contact journalists and analysts in the past, with good results, I still think that telephone conversation and email have a huge role to play and I am sure that other industries are the same. It also doesn’t bear thinking about what such a platform will do for the written language, but that’s a whole other issue.

What Facebook is doing is trying to get us to spend more time with them to ensure an increase in advertising spend on their site, something Google has already cracked. It will be interesting to have a play with the platform, but I’ll eat my hat if this forces email to extinction. But then, who knows – if I make to 100, perhaps I’ll receive a one-liner from the Royals via Facebook to my most convenient device!

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