Some people have hastily predicted e-mail is headed towards its demise. I am in the camp and have proclaimed here previously that although collaborative tools have a potential to dethrone email, we still need to govern it and not act as if it’s gone yet. A really insightful post on this same topic has been written in the AIIM community by Angela Ashenden entitled, “Email – let’s not shoot the messenger.” I have excerpted part of it below:

Email is a fantastic asynchronous communication tool; it is a great substitute for paper-based correspondence as well as fax-style communications. What’s more, the maturity of the technology – and more importantly its technology standards – means that it doesn’t matter which email platform you use, you can send an email to anyone else with an email address, and you can (generally) use whatever email client you want in order to send it. I don’t care how successful social technologies become (and they will become very successful), there will still be a place for email…

By all means, let’s develop and implement technologies that are better at doing some of the things that email really sucks at, but rather than slate email in the process, let’s rebalance the scales, clarifying where email has value, and showing how other tools can do some things better. Better still, use email to drive adoption of these alternatives, for example through using email notifications that allow people to reply to a discussion thread in a social tool, without leaving their familiar email client. In fact, we’re seeing more and more use of the email client as an extension of the social platform, with vendors embedding social features into email, so you can do everything from one place. As I discussed in my report, ultimately I see the email client becoming more of a collaboration client anyway, so what’s the point in dragging users away from it; bring the capabilities to them. You’ll find they’re much more open to trying out new features in an environment where they’re already comfortable.

I’d encourage you to click over and read the rest.

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