It’s easy to see why tech kids have been so quick to call the death of e-mail: in the middle of a collaboration tool storm, digital innovation is moving at a faster pace than ever before and everything is just so new and shiny. And yet, here we are, still using e-mail as a primary mode of communication. What the haps?
In an effort to better understand why our inboxes are still so sticky, I demanded (no exaggeration) a few members of the Mindjet Marketing crew to talk to me about it. Lessons learned:
1. It’s the one system everyone’s familiar with. You really can’t beat that. Yesterday Troy Larson talked about needing the right tool for the right job, and that’s a very accurate statement, but it also means that tools are going to vary across departments. For a company that integrates an entire social “layer” it means that the usage of each of the included features will vary across departments. In an environment with a lot of people and a lot of departments, that’s a lot of different tools — and who has time to really learn each and every one? Turning to the single option that everyone understands and uses regularly is kind of a no-brainer.
2. It’s a communication hub. Secondly, our inboxes are usually the central hub for all platform alerts. So even if you do understand the ins and outs of each collaboration tool and use it accordingly, it’s likely that you’re still going to be using e-mail to track who is talking to you and where they’re coming from.
3. It’s personal. Developers have tried to make social/collaboration platforms as personal as e-mail but as real-time as modern tools by installing chat features, but the general consensus is that it’s just not the same. “It’s a different expectation,” noted Robin Cangie, Marketing Programs Manager. “If I chat them, it’s an immediate need. It can be…demanding. I don’t use it unless I work a lot with the person or know them well.”
“And you can’t have chat threads,” added Anna Li, Marketing Manager. “E-mail is more organized.”
While we won’t be bidding farewell to our inboxes any time soon, this kind of knowledge does give developers an idea of what’s working, what’s not working, and what can be improved. The technology will change over time, but electronic communication between people certainly isn’t going anywhere, so tell us what would make giving up corporate e-mail more appealing. Or, if that sounds like the absolute worst idea ever, tell us why in the comments below.