Is email dying?

Perhaps, but perhaps not yet

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Have we reached the point where email's influence over our electronic lives is waning? It is hard to imagine, especially for those of us who grew up in the minicomputer/PC era. For two generations, email was the killer application. It delivered information reliably and within a few minutes.

But today the properties that made email so attractive for so long are now a liabiliity. "A few minutes" for a response is so last year, driven in no small part by texting and cell phone ubiquity. At the same time this was happening, wikis, blogs and social networks have begun to erode email's document exchange role. The notion of sharing photos or a slide presentation using email attachments is becoming quaint.

Now, the Internets have gotten faster, and seconds matter. Amazon offers same-day deliveries in a few cities. Motorola's new Cliq Android phone aggregates all your messages together. And email just can't keep up.

Jessica Vascellaro's WSJ article about "Why Email No Longer Rules" cites that more people are on Facebook and other social networking sites than use email (it is a questionable statistic, to be sure). She claims that email is losing out to the immediacy of the real-time nature of social networks feeds and presence-aware apps like Twitter. Even Instant Messaging isn't instant or capable enough, since it was designed for one-to-one chats. Today, the real-time Internet means that conversations need to happen with multiple people and happen quickly. The fact that this constant stream of presence information is being collected and sold, eroding one of the few aspects of privacy we control is lost on this generation, apparently.

I asked my friend Dave Piscitello to help collaborate on this article, and we agreed to share our thoughts and come up with the overall piece.

We have begun to notice in the past month or so more of our network is responding to our respective publications - weekly email Web Informants and the SecuritySkeptic.com blog - via Facebook and not via email. Adapting to the needs of our audience, we have both begun “pushing” our publications using email, Friendfeed, Facebook, and occasionally Twitter. We’ve experimented with podcasting, webcasting, and video too.

This is admittedly a shotgun approach to publishing, and begs the question of which of these communications tools, if any, are the right one for publishing? It also begs whether any of these alone are sufficient, and if not, what combinations can be used effectively?

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