Long Live Email

Email remains a crucial tool for asynchronous communications and collaboration.

Eric Krapf, No Jitter

November 11, 2022

2 Min Read
Long Live Email

When Slack was founded nearly 10 years ago, it quickly gained the reputation as an aspiring “email killer.” It’s worth noting, however, that none other than Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield described email in 2015 as “the cockroach of the Internet.” As in, you can’t kill it.

And he was right.

The most recent evidence of email’s durability is Zoom’s announcement this week of an email and calendaring component to its platform (see Dave Michels’ excellent No Jitter analysis of the move). Zoom intends to build a complete platform to challenge Microsoft Teams and has decided email is a critical part of any such platform.

For me, the most telling part of Michels’ post was his statement that, “our inboxes have become a central repository of all sorts of data.” It’s true. When I need to find a report from eight years ago, I search my email archives. Even now that many of us use Box or SharePoint or other online repositories, invariably if someone else needs to let you know they’ve created a document for you to look at online, they (sometimes via the repository) send you an email with the link.

Longer-term, communications and collaboration technologies are converging with workplace productivity, project management, and similar systems, and this trend could diminish email’s role as that central repository Michels described. But it likely won’t eliminate this role, because of the interoperability challenge he cites. Workplace apps tend to be used by internal teams, but there’s still a need to collaborate and exchange information externally as well, which usually requires an interoperable lowest-common-denominator tool.

Related:Google Apps vs. Microsoft Apps: Which Do Young People Like More?

Another key feature of email is that it’s asynchronous. The value of asynchronous communications comes out in the phrase you see a lot on the Internet, “This meeting could have been an email.” Sometimes (often?) people prefer email to more “modern” forms of communications, for its convenience and efficiency. We’re starting to see collaboration vendors push asynchronous video to help people communicate in a way that fits with post-pandemic work styles. But since we’ve already got email, video will have to prove itself more useful than asynchronous text if this mode is to take off.

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About the Author(s)

Eric Krapf

Eric Krapf is general manager and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the enterprise communications industry. He has been Enterprise Connect's program co-chair for over a decade. He is also publisher of No Jitter, the Enterprise Connect community's daily news and analysis website.

Eric served as editor of No Jitter from its founding in 2007 until taking over as publisher in 2015. From 1996 to 2004, Eric was managing editor of Business Communications Review (BCR) magazine, and from 2004 to 2007, he was the magazine's editor. BCR was a highly respected journal of the business technology and communications industry.

Before joining BCR, he was managing editor and senior editor of America's Network magazine, covering the public telecommunications industry. Prior to working in high-tech journalism, he was a reporter and editor at newspapers in Connecticut and Texas.

No Jitter

No Jitter, a sister publication to ITPro Today, is a leading source of information and objective analysis for enterprise communications professionals and decision-makers faced with rapidly evolving technologies and proliferating business/management challenges.

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