Henry Samuel via The Telegraph
Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos and a former French finance minister, wants a “zero email” policy to be in place within as early as 18 months, arguing that only 10 per cent of the 200 electronic messages his employees receive per day on average turn out to be useful. Instead he wants them to use an instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.
"The email is no longer the appropriate (communication) tool.
"The deluge of information will be one of the most important problems a company will have to face (in the future). It is time to think differently." Reading useless messages is terrible for concentration, as it takes 64 seconds to get back on the ball after doing so, according to a recent study by the social and business responsibility watchdog ORSE. "Poorly controlled, the email can become a devastating tool," it warned.
"The email is a real problem," Nicolas Moinet, information and communication professor at Poitiers University. "We have now reached crazy situations where employees go to a meeting, continue to send emails and then ask colleagues present to send them an email to know what was said during that meeting," he told 20 Minutes news website.
The younger generation have already all but scrapped the email, with only 11 per cent of 11 to 19 year-olds using it, according to silicon.fr, and online social networking is now more popular than email and search.
"Companies must prepare for the new wave of usage and behaviour," said Mr Breton.
He wants staff to use chat-type collaborative services inspired by social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.
I predicted the death of email back in 2005, saying it would take 5-10 years and that something based on instant messaging style communication would replace it.
I was openly ridiculed at Supernova in 2005 for saying email sucks at what we want to use it for, generally — communicating with people that are known to us — and it is really good at what we hate about email — the ease of emailing to people who aren’t known to us.
Amy Wohl asked if I was unaware that email was the killer app of the internet, for example. Esther Dyson shook her head. Some unnamed fellow in the back was furious, furious that in a session called ‘The Future of Email’ I suggested that the future of email was its eventual demise.
But it is all becoming apparent that email will soon join fax and telegrams on the dust heap of obsolete media.
A large number of readers might hasten to make some gradualist arguments — its going to be around in some form forever, it has its uses, etc. — but trust me, it’s almost dead, and you merely have to look at the kids to see that it’s near.
The Comscore 2010 US Digital Year In Review demonstrates one fact very clearly: email is doomed.
Taking as a given that what the kids and young adults are rejecting today will die off quickly, it’s fairly clear that email is on a steep trajectory and will crash in the next decade.
I recall being almost ripped to shreds back at a 2005 Supernova event, when I predicted that email would rapidly die off as soon as texting-like social network-based communications were adopted by young people. A lot of the graybeards there (now in the older two segments of the graph) suggested that I was a lunatic, and should never be asked back. Now, just over 5 years later, the handwriting is on the wall.
Many of the 18-24 year olds are in high school and college, where email is a necessity, so that data point is an anomaly. Otherwise the graph would be linear, showing a clear age-based demographic line.
And for all of those that said spam was email’s biggest challenge, I’ll just say look at the graph. What will it look like in 5 years? 10?
I still maintain that there is a fusion product waiting to be built — one with aspects of email and social network-based messaging. However, Buzz wasn’t it. I will keep hoping for liquid email, though.
(h/t Alexia Tsotsis)