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Email is NOT Dead

Warning- Idealistic Rant Ahead.

There seems to be cacophony of folks out there proclaiming email is dead. While I know they are being sensationalist about it, I think the idea is absurd. I think it is temporarily polluted and perhaps unwieldy, but not dead.

Did the telephone die when telemarketers started using it? Did the US Postal Service die when junk-mail started coming? No. It made these resources more annoying, but it didn’t interfere with their basic functions. Telemarketers don’t keep me from calling my brother, junk snail-mail doesn’t stop me from mailing a contract and spam doesn’t stop me from using email many, many times a day.

Like the phone and snail-mail, email is a foundation or standard, not something that will die because it gets exploited by marketers. Email is too much a part of Internet life to be cast aside because it’s less easy to use.

I think we LOVE email- it is absolutely essential to those who use it. And when we see it being abused, exploited and undermined, it hurts and makes us want to turn our backs and say it is ruined- to give up. It is the pain of seeing our beloved resource become co-opted by idiots that makes us want to scream from the mountain tops EMAIL IS DEAD.

But it’s not dead for everyone or forever. The Internet is still new; email is still new. There is a world of people and businesses that are just starting to see the light of Internet communication and the future of email could be bright.

The folks pronouncing its death have the benefit of years of experience at the leading edge of Internet technology and from this perspective they can see past email and be ready to cast it aside for the next big thing. However, I think they are losing the sight of those that are years behind them on the learning curve.

Sure, viruses will attack email, spam may grow, but I think its all part of the ongoing and hard-fought battle between opposing sides of Internet technology. My bet is that spam will eventually lose this battle.

In the end, I believe that spam will die a slow death because it will cease to be profitable. Technology will fight it, recipients will ignore it and it will fall by the wayside. It may take years, but we will have our inboxes back and email will continue to be a valued foundation of our communications in the future.

So, let’s not be so ready to read a eulogy for email. It’s in a sad state right now and it makes me mad too. However, I don’t want to promote the idea that it’s dead because it could still have so many positive affects on the world of online communication- particularly for those who are just beginning to understand it.