Email, you need it, the myth perpetuates. Email is the de facto official electronic means of communication. It is now 44 years old, older than the average age of the typical internet user today, and much like gramophones, Walkman’s, carburetors and faxes never survived the generational leap, email is bound to fail.
I debated going into the history of email and its nuances but decided the typical TechTrends reader knows what email is :-). Now the reason I say email is dying, maybe not yet in intensive care but the time has come for it to write its last will and testament.
2016 is the year when wireless and mobile traffic volumes will surpass wired traffic in 2016, according to the 2015 Cisco VNI. The mobile internet as a phrase is a bit of a misnomer as usage on the mobile internet is behind the walled gardens of our favourite apps; WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook…the list is a few million long! I have never felt the need to email any of these apps, nor have I seen an email us button within most of the applications. There is no need to email the developer for your typical user because the app just works or the user moves on to the next app. The developer will tend to build the ability to contact them within the application itself.
Whilst there are many numbers floating around about the average age of Zambia’s population, there is one universal truth. It is young, very young, even too young to vote for its own future. They are growing up at a time when to contact someone means sending them an instant message on a shared platform. In their minds writing an email requires the same level of effort as penning a letter and making sure you do not make a mistake because pen does not erase! For the more affluent children, email is the means by which they send homework or receive instructions from their teacher. The email addresses belong to the school domain, so when those kids graduate they leave that email behind.
Email has a similar notoriety as the infamous Altezza with people boasting how many they receive a day, indirectly implying they are super fast at delivering behind the keyboard. Anyone who has been a system administrator or similar role where systems send email alerts can testify that these soon get filed under never to be read. Platforms that need monitoring are now integrating with the cloud, allowing much better monitoring with the ability to track trends and build rich operational data.
Email has been good to us. It has saved many a job by being an iron-clad alibi when bosses memories fail. Now that email is at the tail end of middle age, we have to move to responsive, modern and intuitive means of communicating. This need has led to an explosive growth in communication tools like Slack that are cloud-based, intuitive with instant response times. You do however need an email address to use Slack…graceful hand-over or habit?
Good bye email, it has been great, but like the Home and Fax number we will continue to enjoy the nostalgia when we fill in an official form.