Many blog posts have written about the share shift of email toward social media apps, like Facebook. A post on ReadWriteWeb yesterday attempts to explain this. But, this is not a race to zero for email—especially in the business world. Why? Because businesses want to have their employees digitally communicate using a corporate email account and, in some cases, are legally obligated to do so.
To say or suggest that traditional email is on a race to irrelevance, or even to say that it will ever be irrelevant is simply false. Proof of this point can be found by asking any person, of any age whether or not they have an email account. You’d probably find that most people have multiple email addresses. Many of us have a business email address, a personal email address, a spam email address, and more. We doubt there is a person in the digital world that lacks an email account. If you know of someone active in the digital world that does not have an email address, stop reading here and email andy.schroepfer [at] rackspace.com.
The truth is that email is still the preferred way to communicate. Social media is a complimentary tool. Just look at this graph below compiled by Forrester Research this year.
It could even be said from the above graph that email is gaining momentum.
Email comes with an unwritten expectation. When we email someone, we have the expectation that each and every recipient will (eventually) open, view, and respond to our outreach. When we post something to our social media accounts, we have no expectation that all of our friends on that social media application will read our comment, watch our video, or download our file.
Since email is the only form of digital communication where the sender has a right to “expect” a read and response to their outreach, email will remain at the top of the communications hierarchy instead of slipping down on the list of important and effective communication methods.
And remember, before you can sign up for most social networks, you are going to need an email address!